Reuters is reporting that Kyocera has entered into talks to acquire Sanyo’s mobile phone unit. Sanyo, facing financial hardships, has been rumored to be attempting to sell the unit for almost a year. Sanyo’s handset division has been known for almost five years as being an exclusive Sprint handset provider. Sanyo has only sold phones in the United States on Sprint and its MVNOs, and on KDDI in Japan.
While Sanyo has appeared to be profitable in the handset business, their growth has been stifled; Sanyo appears to have been unable to sell phones on Verizon Wireless, Alltel, US Cellular, or MetroPCS. It is not clear if that has been because of business decisions internal to Sanyo, or poor performance on the 800 MHz band, a common complaint with Sanyo phones (Sprint’s own network only uses the 1900 MHz band).
Kyocera however, is also facing hardships. Their phones are generally considered underpowered when compared to Sanyo, and buggy phones have left Kyocera locked out of every major carrier in the United States. They also lack a reliable Java implementation, something necessary to start selling phones on Sprint. Kyocera has a reliable BREW implementation, which would enable improved Sanyo phones to be sold on every other national carrier.
Even with the combined venture, market analysts only expect it to be the seventh largest handset manufacturer.