Japan’s Kyodo News agency is citing its own sources and confirming that after months of negotiation, Deutsche Telekom has accepted SoftBank’s offer to purchase the 67% stake in T-Mobile USA currently held by the German conglomerate. The acceptance of the offer reportedly came following the pitch made by SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son in a high-level meeting with DT executives held earlier this month and follows months of PR work by the head in order to convince US regulators that the purchase would lead to a long-promised price war in the US wireless industry, should the purchase be approved.
However, there are still those in the various regulatory bodies that are opposed to the purchase and merger despite a recent softening of opinion, citing the resurgent success of T-Mobile after the blockage of the AT&T purchase and proposed merger. The effects of the blocked merger have led to T-Mobile’s most successful 18 months as a carrier in the history of the company, with over 2 million new customers and new initiatives that have seen the company become more pro-consumer, such as including international roaming on its postpaid plans, and offering free data access for tablets without having to sign a service agreement as well as one of the fastest LTE deployments ever conducted by a wireless carrier.
Even if Deutsche Telekom approves SoftBank’s terms which are reported to value the stake at $40 billion, the biggest test for the purchase still lies with US regulators, and given T-Mobile’s recent success and recovery after years without a solid direction and being left moribund, it remains to be seen how the various regulators will feel about going from four carriers to three, especially as depending on multiple analyst reports, T-Mobile is now the number 3 carrier in the country, with Sprint falling to the #4 position.