Snippet: Internal T-Mobile Documents Show the Company Considering a Comcast Merger ☇

Shared on December 24, 2019

Russell Brandom for The Verge:

As T-Mobile’s merger trial inches toward a verdict, it’s clear the company has spent years preparing for a merger with Sprint. But a new report made public in connection with the case reveals T-Mobile has also been preparing for a subsequent merger with a cable company, with Comcast seen as the most likely potential candidate.

Titled “Defining a winning position for the US business model,” the report was assembled at the request of T-Mobile board member Thorsten Langheim in December 2015, meant to give an overview of the company’s market position in advance of a workshop among senior members of leadership. The result is a candid behind-the-scenes look at the company’s strategic outlook, often cutting a sharp contrast to the company’s rebellious “uncarrier” image. (T-Mobile declined to comment.)

The report, which is labeled as “confidential” throughout, suggests T-Mobile owner Deutsche Telecom had bet heavily on the US wireless market, where the company saw less regulation and higher average revenue per customer than in Europe. Analysts also predicted that, as the company reached the limits of its organic growth, it would have to rely on industry-wide consolidation to continue its growth after 2018.

Although the documents are from 2015, many of the steps have been followed so far, including many of the arguments in favor of the Sprint/T-Mobile merger. A tie-up with Comcast makes sense for both companies, as it would give Comcast an actually useful wireless business (Xfinity Mobile hasn’t been setting the world on fire), and allows T-Mobile to play even more at AT&T’s level in wireline, business, and media. Even if it’s not on the table now, it’s still an unsettling idea to think about.

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