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T-Mobile & Sprint said nearing agreement on merger, could sign deal in October

T-Mobile and Sprint are reportedly close to "tentative terms" on a long-rumored merger deal, and could finalize an agreement by the end of October.




T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telekom would own a majority stake in the combined company, while Sprint parent SoftBank would take somewhere between 40 and 50 percent, Reuters sources said on Friday. T-Mobile CEO John Legere would allegedly assume leadership.

The people cautioned that negotiations could still break down —any merger might also be stopped by U.S. regulatory agencies, given the narrow concentration of power in the telecommunications landscape.

While operating on a national scale, T-Mobile and Sprint have long sat in the shadow of the two biggest U.S. carriers, AT&T and Verizon. Even a merged entity, with over 130 million subscribers, would still be somewhat smaller.

SoftBank previously considered buying T-Mobile in 2014, but abandoned it in light of opposition by regulators. T-Mobile has grown substantially since then and in fact outpaced Sprint.

Any merger would have a particular impact on U.S. iPhone shoppers, especially as people buying direct from Apple must choose one of the major national carriers or go SIM-free, setting up with a carrier on their own. Today the company launched the iPhone 8 and 8 Plus in markets around the globe.