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T-Mobile's Legere (on left) and Sprint's Claure taking questions via Twitter on Sunday. Photo: T-Mobile

One of the biggest challenges for Sprint and T-Mobile over the next few months will be building for two different futures.

The two companies are hoping to merge in a year's time and build their 5G network together. But each company must also plan for life should the deal fall through. Executives from both companies acknowledged that there will necessarily be some duplication of effort, but downplayed the impact.

"It turns out that an awful lot of the things that you would naturally do as a standalone company wind up being accretive to that ultimate 5G network."
T-Mobile COO Mike Sievert tells Axios

But, but but: That said, Sprint will be building some things that it needs as a standalone company that wouldn't be needed if the deal goes through. Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure tells Axios that Sprint will increase its spending on network infrastructure this year and next.

"We're going to continue to invest as much as we said we will, which is significantly more than in previous years," Claure says. "But in addition, as part of this transaction, we signed a roaming agreement with T-Mobile that gives Sprint customers access to the T-Mobile network."

  • The roaming agreement will live on even if the deal falls apart.

Baked in: T-Mobile says its analysis of the cost savings from the deal accounts for the fact that Sprint will have to build some "stranded" network capabilities that won't be needed if the deal is successful.

"There is an understanding that as this deal gets approved over the next year, there may be some need for Sprint to deploy capabilities, the majority of which would enhance our ability to migrate after the deal is approved." "But yeah, some will be stranded capabilities."
T-Mobile CEO John Legere to Axios

Go deeper

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Biden lays out $1.75 trillion "framework" before Europe departure

President Biden in Kearny, N.J., on Oct. 25. Photo: Michael M. Santiago/Getty Images

President Biden announced Thursday a "framework" for $1.75 trillion in social program and climate change spending after failing in prior efforts to win over his fellow Democrats on a much broader and costlier package.

Why it matters: Biden is gambling that by proclaiming the broad contours of the proposal, which he immediately began selling in a meeting with House Democrats before jetting off to Europe, progressives will vote for his $1.2 trillion infrastructure plan if and when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi brings it to the floor.

Economy slows in third quarter amid Delta variant

Data: FRED; Chart: Axios Visuals

The U.S. economy increased at an annual rate of 2% in the third quarter, the Department of Commerce said Thursday.

Driving the news: The gross domestic product figures for July through September come in much lower than the 6.7% increase in the second quarter, reflecting the "continued economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic," according to the Bureau of Economic Analysis at the Department of Commerce.

Top Dem says Big Oil put Earth on "brink" of catastrophe

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Don't expect a sedate House hearing Thursday on allegations that Big Oil has intentionally sown doubt about climate change.

What they're saying: "For far too long, Big Oil has escaped accountability for its central role in bringing our planet to the brink of a climate catastrophe. That ends today," Rep. Carolyn Maloney, chairwoman of the House Oversight and Reform Committee, intends to say in her opening remarks shared with Axios.