Feb 14, 2017

T-Mobile CEO hints at possible merger

Kim Hart, author of Cities

Flickr CC

John Legere was coy when asked about T-Mobile's future on today's earnings call, emphasizing that the company has a number of options:

We are a healthy, growing franchise. If we choose to, we can continue to drive growth on our own…or participate in various forms of consolidation.

Why we're watching: Industry analysts have for months speculated that T-Mobile and Sprint, the 3rd and 4th biggest U.S. wireless companies, would try to merge now that Republicans are in charge in Washington. (Obama-era regulators signaled they would not look kindly on a merger of two of the four national carriers.) Last week, Softbank Chairman Masayoshi Son, who is a majority shareholder in Sprint, said he was keeping his options open, Reuters reported. Legere's comments show he's open to options as well, and also said Sprint and other wireless carriers were showing signs of "desperation" in the cut-throat wireless market.

In context: Industry consolidation talks are ramping up across the board as companies try to deliver compelling content and faster services to mobile consumers, underscored by AT&T's proposed takeover of Time Warner and rumored talks of a merger of Verizon and Charter Communications. "There are always industry consolidations driven in the worst way for some people, which is 'look at me, I need help.'...Sprint is clearly playing the game," Legere said. "They are a candidate to be a part of a greater organization." He also noted that satellite provider Dish Network is in a position for a deal.

What's next: Merger talks can't happen yet for companies participating in the FCC's ongoing spectrum auction, which is expected to wrap up in the next month or two. Analysts are expecting wireless M&A discussions to pick up after that. Legere said the regulatory environment is now more receptive "to consider structural change to our industry, which I think is positive for our company."

Go deeper

Updated 38 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Global: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 5,945,711— Total deaths: 365,535 — Total recoveries — 2,516,951Map.
  2. U.S.: Total confirmed cases as of 10 a.m. ET: 1,747,087 — Total deaths: 102,836 — Total recoveries: 406,446 — Total tested: 16,099,515Map.
  3. Economy: America's unfinished business.
  4. Supreme Court: Chief Justice Roberts sides with liberals in denying challenge to California's pandemic worship rules.
  5. Public health: Hydroxychloroquine prescription fills exploded in March.
  6. 2020: North Carolina asks RNC if convention will honor Trump's wish for no masks or social distancing.
  7. Business: Fed chair Powell says coronavirus is "great increaser" of income inequality.

America's unfinished business

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The fury over George Floyd's killing is erupting as the U.S. faces a looming wave of business bankruptcies, likely home evictions and a virus pandemic that will all disproportionately hit African Americans.

Why it matters: What these seemingly disparate issues share in common is that they emanate from systemic abuses that calls to action and promised reforms have yet to meaningfully address.

Deaths without consequences

Community organizations and activists demand police accountability at a rally in Grand Central Terminal to commemorate the 5-year anniversary of Mike Brown's death by Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. Photo: Erik McGregor/Getty Images

Seven years after the launch of the Black Lives Matter movement, it's still rare for police officers to be charged in the deaths of African Americans — and even more rare for an officer to go to jail.

The big picture: The Minneapolis police officer who was captured on video kneeling on George Floyd's neck has been charged with third-degree murder and manslaughter — which is already a step beyond the consequences other police officers have faced. But it's no guarantee that he will face jail time.