Feb 17, 2017

T-Mobile and Sprint may get to merge under Trump

Just how badly does SoftBank want to combine Sprint with T-Mobile?

Enough that, according to Reuters, chief Masayoshi Son is willing to give up control and let T-Mobile's team run the company.

It's hardly shocking that the owners of Sprint and T-Mobile are imagining what married life would look like. T-Mobile CEO John Legere this week hinted a combination could be in the company's future. In fact, the only thing holding the companies back at the moment is the fact that they are prohibited from talking to one another during an ongoing U.S. spectrum auction.

Backstory: SoftBank and T-Mobile majority owner Deutsche Telekom talked before, giving up only when it was clear the Obama administration was going to oppose any deal that reduced the number of major carriers.

Why do they need a deal?: The cell phone business is a scale game. AT&T and Verizon have it; Sprint and T-Mobile don't.

What's next?: Expect talks to heat up soon after the FCC gets done with the spectrum auction, probably in April.

The only remaining question: Will Trump's FCC, as expected, buy the companies' argument that a merger is needed to preserve long-term competition in the industry?

Go deeper

Trump announces 30-day extension of coronavirus guidelines

President Trump announced on Sunday that his administration will extend its "15 Days to Slow the Spread" guidelines until April 30 in an effort to stop the spread of coronavirus, which has now infected more than 130,000 Americans and killed nearly 2,500.

Why it matters: Top advisers to the president have been seeking to steer him away from Easter as an arbitrary deadline for the U.S. to open parts of its economy, amid warnings from health officials that loosening restrictions could cause the number of coronavirus cases to skyrocket.

Go deeperArrow31 mins ago - Health

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 716,101 — Total deaths: 33,854 — Total recoveries: 148,900.
  2. U.S.: Leads the world in cases. Total confirmed cases as of 5 p.m. ET: 136,880 — Total deaths: 2,409 — Total recoveries: 2,612.
  3. Federal government latest: The first federal prisoner to die from coronavirus was reported from a correctional facility in Louisiana on Sunday.
  4. Public health updates: Fauci says 100,000 to 200,000 Americans could die from virus.
  5. State updates: Louisiana governor says state is on track to exceed ventilator capacity by end of this week — Cuomo says Trump's mandatory quarantine comments "panicked" some people into fleeing New York
  6. World updates: Italy on Sunday reports 756 new deaths, bringing its total 10,779. Spain reports almost 840 dead, another new daily record that bring its total to over 6,500.
  7. What should I do? Answers about the virus from Axios expertsWhat to know about social distancingQ&A: Minimizing your coronavirus risk
  8. Other resources: CDC on how to avoid the virus, what to do if you get it.

Subscribe to Mike Allen's Axios AM to follow our coronavirus coverage each morning from your inbox.

Trump touts press briefing "ratings" as U.S. coronavirus case surge

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

President Trump sent about a half-dozen tweets on Sunday touting the high television ratings that his coronavirus press briefings have received, selectively citing a New York Times article that compared them to "The Bachelor" and "Monday Night Football."

Why it matters: The president has been holding daily press briefings in the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic was declared, but news outlets have struggled with how to cover them live — as Trump has repeatedly been found to spread misinformation and contradict public health officials.