Good luck trying to sell your customers on this idea, John Legere: T-Mobile US parent company Deutsche Telekom has reportedly reached out to Comcast about a potential sale of the Uncarrier to the cable giant. The news was first reported by German publication Manager Magazin, with the Financial Times also backing the rumor with its own sources. Duetsche Telekom is said to view Comcast as a better alternative to Dish — another rumored suitor of T-Mobile — because the company can afford to throw more cash into the deal, whereas Dish would be offering a large amount of its own shares in any transaction.
But according to Financial Times, "nothing concrete" has resulted from talks between Deutsche and Comcast, perhaps a sign that Comcast remains wary of any huge takeover attempt after its failed bid to swallow Time Warner Cable. It sounds as though Deutsche is trying to stir up a potential bidding war, but not having much success. Ars Technica is reporting that so far, Comcast is "not interested" in scooping up T-Mo. And Dish negotiations are said to be in an "advanced" stage and could be announced within weeks if the two sides can settle on a valuation.
Apparently Comcast isn't very interested
Comcast has dabbled in the wireless industry before; SpectrumCo, a consortium of cable companies that included Comcast and Time Warner, once held a valuable stockpile of AWS spectrum before Verizon purchased it in 2012. (Coincidentally enough, T-Mobile benefitted from that deal by picking up divested spectrum.) Comcast also has a big interest in voice calls and texting over Wi-Fi; the company already offers rudimentary service in these areas and has reportedly explored marketing its own mobile phone service. Buying T-Mobile US would obviously give Comcast an instant (and significant) foothold in mobile.
But it's difficult to see how T-Mobile US CEO Legere would rationalize such a transaction given the rebellious Uncarrier image that has helped T-Mobile surge in recent quarters. During the company's last earnings call, he began laying the groundwork and hinted that a merger with a cable or satellite provider could be in T-Mobile's future. "I think you need to think about the cable industry and players like us as not competitors, but potential partners and alternatives for each other in the future," he said. Making the argument for a union with Dish and its huge spectrum holdings seems far easier.