Media rumors have flown in the past 48 hours that Sprint is an acquisition target of SK Telecom. PhoneNews.com is happy to report sanity in this: nothing could be further from the truth. Sprint is currently valued at well over three times the amount of SK Telecom, and simply could not be acquired by the Korean 4G carrier.
However, rumors of SK Telecom investing in Sprint are quite possible, if not a pending reality. And, it wouldn’t be the first time a foreign carrier has invested in an American carrier on the verge of major upgrades. NTT DoCoMo invested heavily in AT&T Wireless, and in turn, AT&T Wireless agreed to deploy UMTS years ahead of the competition. While AT&T Wireless ultimately suffered lackluster performance due to other circumstances, NTT DoCoMo recovered its funds after AT&T Wireless was acquired by Cingular.
Furthermore, SK Telecom is in a similar position. Having deployed WiBro, a derivative of WiMAX, Sprint and SK Telecom share almost completely compatible 4G networks. In addition, Sprint has been testing, and featured at CTIA earlier this year, SK Telecom devices running on the Sprint WiMAX network. It would appear that SK Telecom sees the promise that Sprint does in 4G, and being the only carrier currently with a 4G migration path in the United States, SK Telecom is more compatible with Sprint, than any other similarly-sized carrier on the planet.
This comes in a bad week of news for Sprint. Sprint has caught negative attention in the media for terminating some customers who either abused roaming (by violating Sprint terms and conditions, using more roaming airtime, than on-network airtime) or called customer service upwards of 75 times in a month. While Sprint is not alone in the industry for taking such actions, the drive-by media attention has fixated on one carrier this week; Sprint. Sprint vigorously defended these actions, citing that these customers were dissatisfied with the service Sprint was providing, and that the relationship with these customers was not serving the company, or the customer.