Once again, Sprint and T-Mobile failed to work out a deal to merge the two carriers, so SoftBank Group, Sprint’s parent company, looks to do the next best thing: double down on its US-based company and hope for the best.
With the news, SoftBank Group increased its ownership of Sprint from around 82 percent to 85 percent, an increase that SoftBank Group CEO and Chairman Masayoshi Son said was necessary in order to give Sprint a good position in the future:
We are entering an era where billions of new connected devices and sensors will come online throughout the United States. Continuing to own a world class mobile network is central to our vision of ubiquitous connectivity. Sprint is a critical part of our plan to ensure that we can deliver our vision to American consumers and we are very confident in its future.
The announcement follows a string of reports that raised the possibility of a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, then shut it down, then raised it again, until it was officially taken off the table. Perhaps a merger between the two companies could still happen – Sprint and T-Mobile came close to merging back in 2014, so who’s to say that a merger will not be brought up again down the road.
As for the news that SoftBank Group will increase its stake in Sprint, it could buy the US carrier more time to improve its network and make its offerings more attractive to would-be customers. It also tells us that SoftBank Groupwas not going to leave Sprint in the dust if a merger with T-Mobile would fall through.