Verizon and AT&T should face a bigger mobile rival, Sprint CFO says

The US mobile business would be more competitive with three carriers, according to Sprint's Euteneuer

The U.S. mobile industry would be more competitive with one less carrier, Sprint's CFO said on Thursday.

The problem now is that Sprint and T-Mobile US are so much smaller than the top two carriers, AT&T and Verizon Wireless, Joe Euteneuer said in an onstage interview at a Goldman Sachs conference in New York. Based on the experience of other industries, closer parity is better, he said.

"When you get down to three comparable-sized players, you get much more effective competition," Euteneuer said.

Sprint has approximately 55 million subscribers and T-Mobile about 43 million, while Verizon Wireless and AT&T both are around 100 million, though they count customers differently. On Wednesday, T-Mobile US CFO Braxton Carter reportedly said a merger between his company and Sprint would be the logical next step in the industry's consolidation. Some industry analysts also believe the U.S. will eventually go to three competitors, as other affluent countries have.

Though more consolidation might be good for the country, that doesn't mean it'll happen, Euteneuer acknowledged. Whether the U.S. should have three or four big mobile carriers is a hotly debated topic, and both the U.S. Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission have some control over whether another big deal could take place. Regulators nixed AT&T's attempt to buy T-Mobile in 2011.

MetroPCS, Leap Wireless and some smaller players have recently been snapped up by big carriers and Sprint was acquired by SoftBank earlier this year, but the top four operators have stayed the same.

Also at the conference, Euteneuer said Sprint's combination with SoftBank, which is a major carrier in Japan, finally gives it the kind of scale that Verizon and AT&T have long enjoyed when negotiating with device makers. "I do believe that there is a benefit there," he said.

Sprint is currently focused on building out its network, which will use several different cellular frequency bands as well as Wi-Fi for better coverage and capacity than it offers today, Euteneuer said.

The company is still building out LTE on its 1.9GHz band and expects to reach 200 million people on that system by the end of the year. It's using the 800MHz band for voice service now and plans to start deploying LTE on those frequencies at the beginning of next year. By the end of the year, LTE will be available on more than 5,000 cells that Sprint acquired with Clearwire, which use 2.5GHz spectrum. Finally, early next year Sprint will start talking about its plans for LTE on its own 2.5GHz frequencies, Euteneuer said.

By the end of this year, the company will start offering handsets that can take advantage of all those networks with radios for the 800MHz, 1.9GHz and 2.5GHz bands, he said.

Stephen Lawson covers mobile, storage and networking technologies for The IDG News Service. Follow Stephen on Twitter at @sdlawsonmedia. Stephen's e-mail address is stephen_lawson@idg.com

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags mobileregulationMergers and acquisitionsbusiness issuestelecommunicationsprintU.S. Department of JusticeCarriersU.S. Federal Communications CommissionT-Mobile US

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Stephen Lawson

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Brand Post

Shining a light on creativity

MSI has long pushed the boundaries of invention with its ever-evolving range of laptops but it has now pulled off a world first with the new MSI Creative 17.

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers

MSI P65

This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang

MSI GT76

It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries

MSI GS75

As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr

MSI PS63

The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?