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

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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.