Thursday at 5 p.m. marked an end to a federally imposed quiet period that had been mandated during a $19.6 billion government auction of wireless airwaves licenses. For more than a year, the country’s giant telecom companies couldn’t talk to one another about deals.
Now, the merger teams at Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile, Comcast and others are unleashed. And Kansas City stands to witness a whirlwind of wheeling and dealing over the fate of Sprint, one of the area’s biggest employers.
Sprint, the Overland Park, Kansas-based wireless company known outside its hometown as “the fixer-upper on the block,” could come out on top in a merger. It also could be swallowed up in an acquisition, or be split up and disappear as a standalone business. It also could be left out of the pairings altogether. Each prospect carries huge implications for Kansas City.
Analysts say the top scenario on their list is a Sprint bid to merge with rival T-Mobile. Much has changed since Sprint gave up on its first effort to buy T-Mobile nearly three years ago. Other speculation sees Sprint hooked up with a cable company such as Comcast, which already is tiptoeing into the wireless business and could use a ready-made network.
Sprint’s chairman Masayoshi Son has said the company could be a buyer or a seller, could look for a merger with T-Mobile or some other company, or stand alone.