According to people familiar with the matter, the nation's third-largest wireless carrier is looking to put in a bid for fourth-largest T-Mobile, reports The Wall Street Journal.
The sources further claim Sprint is in the early stages of examining regulatory hurdles to the purported buy as it looks toward launching a bid in the first half of 2014. Depending on the stake Sprint attempts to buy, the deal could run upwards of $20 billion.
Looking at revenue for the nine months ending in September, a Sprint/T-Mobile consolidation could create a strong competitor to now-dominant Verizon and AT&T. As seen above, combined revenues for the third- and fourth-place telcos amounted to $35.8 billion over the nine-month period, compared to AT&T's roughly $45 billion and more than $51 billion for Verizon.
The success of Sprint's rumored takeover is already on shaky ground, however, as AT&T is still licking its wounds from a failed merger attempt just two years ago.
Interestingly, at the time, Sprint vehemently disagreed with the two companies' joining, to the point where it filed a formal petition with the FCC. AT&T's proposal was set at $39 billion.
Reportedly behind the T-Mobile takeover is Masayoshi Son, chief executive of Japan's SoftBank, which in July officially closed out a deal for controlling interest in Sprint. Son is known as an aggressive businessman and has expanded his communications technology empire through a series of acquisitions and takeovers.
The Journal further reports that Deutsche Telekom, current majority owners of T-Mobile USA, is mulling an exit from the U.S. market.
In all, a Sprint-T-Mobile fusion would bring together 53 million post-paid subscribers, compared to AT&T's 72 million and Verizon's 95 million.