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Thread: Sprint in Network Resale Talks w/Comcast & Charter

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    Sprint in Network Resale Talks w/Comcast & Charter

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-s...-idUSKBN19I040

    By Liana B. Baker

    U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp (S.N) is in talks with Charter Communications Inc (CHTR.O) and Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O) about a partnership to boost the two U.S. cable companies' wireless offerings, according to sources familiar with the matter.

    Sprint, controlled by Japan's SoftBank Group Corp, has entered into a two-month period of exclusive negotiations with Charter and Comcast that has put its merger talks with U.S. wireless peer T-Mobile US on hold till the end of July, the sources said on Monday.

    A deal with Sprint would build on a partnership that Charter and Comcast announced last month. The two cable operators have agreed that they would not do deals in the wireless space for a year without each other's consent.

    Comcast has already unveiled plans for a wireless service, using its Wi-Fi hotspots and the airwaves of Verizon Communications Inc, the largest U.S. telecommunications provider, based on a deal between the two that dates back to 2011.

    Comcast and Charter are now in talks with Sprint to secure a similar network-resale agreement on better terms, the sources said. A previous nine-year-old network-resale agreement between Comcast and Sprint was never activated, one of the sources added.

    The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on the negotiations, also said that Charter and Comcast were in preliminary talks to take an equity stake in Sprint as part of an agreement. Such a deal would allow Sprint to invest more in its network, the newspaper added.

    One of the sources said that a minority equity investment was being discussed but that it may not be part of any deal. Charter and Comcast could also look at jointly acquiring Sprint, but that is unlikely, the sources added.

    Sprint, Comcast and Charter declined to comment.

    An agreement with the cable providers over its network does not mean Sprint may not also seek a merger agreement with T-Mobile, which is controlled by Germany's Deutsche Telekom AG, the sources said.

    Sprint sees the partnership as increasing competition in the market, which should help alleviate any antitrust concerns over a merger with T-Mobile, the source added.

    Investors have long expected a deal between T-Mobile and Sprint, the third- and fourth-largest U.S. wireless service providers, anticipating cost cuts and other synergies in the range of $6 billion to $10 billion.

    Three years ago, Sprint ended a previous round of talks to acquire T-Mobile amid opposition from U.S. antitrust regulators.

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    This is all about getting a more favorable deal with Verizon. They have no interest in Sprint. Best case scenario is that they walk away with a better deal for unlimited data on Sprint and dump Verizon. Sprint was rumored to be trialing small cells with a cable company. Comcast/Charter could deploy a large small cell network across their footprint in exchange for a sweet MVNO deal.

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    Sprint in Network Resale Talks w/Comcast & Charter

    I was sure Comcast sold Sprint for a short time. It was something about combining your wireless and cable bill into one. A small cell at every Comcast Hotspot would be a great idea.

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    I posted this in another forum but I'll post it here also, to me the most important line of this article is this one.

    Sprint sees the partnership as increasing competition in the market, which should help alleviate any antitrust concerns over a merger with T-Mobile, the source added.

    If we are to believe the source, and that Comcast and Sprint are talking this line right here shows the intent of the talks. If Comcast signs a mvno deal with Sprint, then relaunches xfinity mobile with cheaper rates, it would be easier to get a T-Mobile Sprint merger approved in their eyes because they could say look, there is plenty of competition, xfinity mobile even just lowered their rates and got into the game nationally. There is no rule saying competition can't be from mvno's. It's a preemptive move to make it easier to pass the proposed tmobile sprint merger according to this source. That makes sense to me. Also the timing lines up because all the wireless CEO's were just in Washington and maybe tmobile and Sprint sensed there may be some backlash on a merger. If this is the case then I'd fully expect tmobile to be behind these talks as well.

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    Quote Originally Posted by techfranz View Post
    I was sure Comcast sold Sprint for a short time. It was something about combining your wireless and cable bill into one. A small cell at every Comcast Hotspot would be a great idea.
    I don't remember Comcast offering Sprint service directly... they did offer bundled Clear hotspots for a while under their own brand, however -- and I think this continued after Sprint bought out Clear.

    The last time I remember Comcast or the cable companies offering Sprint service, it was via an MVNO called Pivot... This must have been around 2010 and only lasted a year or so IIRC. I seem to remember the plans weren't any better than what any other carriers were offering, and there may have been a bundle deal.

    Honestly, I don't know how the Comcast/Chartner MVNO are different than Pivot (aside from this time it is on Verizon)... if they couldn't make it work then, I'm not sure how it will work now. I think in some countries it may be different, but the general public in the US knows who the cable, landline, wireless etc. company is, and are somewhat weary if it doesn't come from a big name. If this wasn't the case, the MVNOs which offer much better deals than the main carriers would have much, much higher numbers.

    N

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    I remember when Cox Cable sold sprint service. Didn't seem to last very long though

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    I think the cable cos want a service that runs on Sprint and Verizon. It would be cheaper than making roaming deals. Think about it. Use Sprint for heavy data and Verizon for broad coverage.

    Also, I think if they got a minority stake in Sprint they could rebadge Sprint customers in their market as either Xfinity or Spectrum. It's hard to get people to switch carriers so buying a minority stake in Sprint would automatically get the cable cos customers. Keep the Sprint name for markets that don't have either Comcast or Charter. Use Xfinity in Comcast Markets and Spectrum in Charter Markets. Rebrand the stores and then allow the cable cos to spend money on advertisment in their markets. That would save Sprint a ton of money and allow them to focus on building a network.

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    There is A chance that Comcast & Charter will buy some wireless network since AT&T, Verizon and US Cellular are all looking at 5G for fixed home wireless TV to replace cable. AT&T is already picked up DirecTV for satellite TV delivery that is major competition for TV cable companies. With TV cord cutting and both AT&T and Verizon moving into more TV competition with cable companies something has to change for Comcast & Charter other than being a MVNO for Verizon. Home 5G fixed wireless even has a good chance to displace the cable companies home broadband ISP service that is their Bread and Butter most profitable product.

    If AT&T is successful in this 5G spectrum TV test in Austin then both Comcast and Charter that have the extra cost of maintain fragile cable connections will be at a major price disadvantage to AT&T for customers. Since DirecTV can beam down TV shows from their satellites to AT&T cell towers that can transmit TV to homes via 5G it will be a price war on traditional wireline cable TV.

    AT&T Takes DirecTV Now into mmWave 5G Trials in Austin

    "Verizon notably launched fixed wireless 5G customer trials in 11 cities in February, and U.S. Cellular has also been working with Nokia on fixed wireless 5G tests."

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    http://www.fiercewireless.com/wirele...arter-analysts

    Reports of a potential wireless partnership between Sprint, Charter and Comcast have quieted speculation about a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile. But analysts say T-Mobile could play a role in any such arrangement.

    The Wall Street Journal reported late Monday that Sprint Chairman Masayoshi Son struck a exclusive two-month deal to hold discussions with Charter and Comcast through July focusing on potential partnership arrangements. One such deal could include the cable companies taking an equity stake in Sprint and investing in the carrier’s network, through which they could presumably launch a branded service.

    A partnership with cable companies might be a better fit for Sprint than a merger with T-Mobile for several reasons. Simply consolidating the number of major U.S. wireless operators might not gain regulatory approval, while the arrival of a new entrant or two likely wouldn’t garner much scrutiny. And Sprint may not have to cede nearly as much control as it might under terms of a deal with T-Mobile, which has enjoyed significant traction over the last few years.

    Also, Sprint could funnel a cash injection from Comcast and Charter into its 2.5 GHz network build-out. And the mobile network operator could leverage Comcast and Charter’s extensive wireline networks and Wi-Fi hotspots to more quickly build out its 2.5 GHz holdings and more cheaply backhaul its mobile network traffic.

    But T-Mobile could join such an effort, Jonathan Chaplin of New Street Research wrote in a note to investors. A model that complex would be difficult to pull off, but it could benefit all stakeholders.

    “Actually, the best-case scenario (for T-Mobile) would be a four-way deal; however that seems tough to get across the goal line,” Chaplin wrote. “The worst-case scenario would see a Sprint/cable deal that leaves T-Mobile out in the cold entirely; we don’t think this is the most likely outcome either. And then there are a host of scenarios in between, where T-Mobile would benefit, potentially greatly, but without the negotiating leverage that many have assumed.”

    Those thoughts echo comments made by T-Mobile CFO Braxton Carter last month during an investors conference. “Of course” discussions of a potential alliance between T-Mobile and Sprint will occur, Carter said, but a final arrangement might include the two cable operators.

    “I think cable—it’s a bit early, that’s going to develop; they’re going to kick the tires,” Carter predicted. “But what about Sprint, T-Mobile and a coalition of Comcast and Charter, and the value creation that could come out of that?”

    And by engaging in talks with Sprint, the cable companies may be making sure they have a seat at the table ahead of any one-to-one deal between the wireless carries, according to Craig Moffett of MoffettNathanson.

    “Think of this as a three-way hedge. Ultimately, this doesn’t make a Sprint/T-Mobile deal any more or less likely than it was before. But it makes sure that the cable operators preserve their options either way,” Moffett told Barron’s. “This ensures (Charter and Comcast) will get attractive terms not only from Sprint, but also from Verizon. Sprint hedges against the risk that a deal with T-Mobile might not happen after all, and it gives Sprint somewhat more negotiating leverage if it does.”

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    Quote Originally Posted by drhz View Post
    I think the cable cos want a service that runs on Sprint and Verizon. It would be cheaper than making roaming deals. Think about it. Use Sprint for heavy data and Verizon for broad coverage.

    Also, I think if they got a minority stake in Sprint they could rebadge Sprint customers in their market as either Xfinity or Spectrum. It's hard to get people to switch carriers so buying a minority stake in Sprint would automatically get the cable cos customers. Keep the Sprint name for markets that don't have either Comcast or Charter. Use Xfinity in Comcast Markets and Spectrum in Charter Markets. Rebrand the stores and then allow the cable cos to spend money on advertisment in their markets. That would save Sprint a ton of money and allow them to focus on building a network.
    Well the technology for this is already here -- Google Fi has seemed to be using it for a while. If the cable companies can truly make the phone intelligently switch between Sprint and Verizon depending on who has a better signal or speeds in a given area, that would be great. If they try to prioritze one or the other via a PRL, however it could cause quality of service issues near the edge of the network, especially if Sprint is the priority.

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    Just a theory of mine but seems like sprint isn't sure about what path to take. Maybe they do know and are trying to build up leverage? I'm not a sprint expert so just theorizing. Wonder if they already have a T-Mobile deal on the table and trying to bring in the cable company

    """new T-Mobile customer"""
    """new T-Mobile customer"""

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    Sprint in Network Resale Talks w/Comcast & Charter

    I think they need to buy a sizable equity stake, preferably majority and rebrand Sprint period.

    The Sprint name is toxic. This is clear to even Stevie Wonder. This is a golden opportunity to DUMP IT and benefit all 3 parties involved.

    Sadly, I think the cable companies are too inept to pull this off in any sort of stunning fashion. We can all hope...
    In a world full of Droids, I'm a shiny Apple.

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    Well, I told my wife my idea of rebranding Sprint with the cable companies brand and she did not like it. Apparently she hates the cable company. She doesn't like all the nickel and dime charges, the customer service, or the changes on the TV package every year.

    I asked her how she like the service from Charter and she said she likes it. Loves the Internet and the reliability of the TV signal. I honestly don't get the hate but I was really surprised by her reaction. She wants to cancel Sprint if Charter takes over our local Sprint store. Is this common? Do people hate cable companies?

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    Yes, cable has just as bad as rap as Sprint.

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    I think only Congress and Gonorrhea are rated worse than Big Cable.
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