SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son told a group of reporters in Tokyo that he is hopeful that there will be more discussion about a possible acquisition of T-Mobile USA (NYSE:TMUS) by Sprint (NYSE: S) and that more discussion will lead to less resistance from regulators to a possible merger of the two companies.
Son has been actively lobbying with regulators and others in the U.S., arguing that three strong mobile operators – Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), AT&T Mobility (NYSE: T) and the combined Sprint/T-Mobile—would result in better service, lower costs and a more competitive structure than the current scenario of two dominant players and two smaller operators.
However, U.S. regulators have been reluctant to reduce the number of nationwide operators from four to three and have indicated that an acquisition of T-Mobile by Sprint would result face strong regulatory resistance.
According to Reuters, when asked whether that initial resistance to the deal had changed, Son said: "I'm not in a position to make the comment on the other end, but, you know, the last few months, there's new movement."
Son may be referring to a Wall Street Journal report in May that said that Democratic Commissioner Jessica Rosenworcel said that it might be necessary for Sprint and T-Mobile to merge in order to remain viable players in the U.S. wireless market. Rosenworcel's comments were considered a hopeful sign that regulatory opposition to the proposed deal could be easing.
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