Carriers

Sprint was “hours away” from buying MetroPCS [Rumor]

February 24, 2012 | by Andrew Kameka

MetroPCS, Sprint

metropcs-wireless-for-all

Sprint came close to acquiring MetroPCS before the company’s board blocked the deal. That’s the story being spread by CNBC newsman David Faber.

“$S Sprint was hours away from buying PCS for $8b when deal vetoed by Sprint board,” Faber tweeted a short while ago.

PCS is the NYSE listing symbol for MetroPCS, and that company was almost swalloed up by Sprint. The deal would have been an interesting move for Sprint, currently undergoing changes to make long-term fixes for the previous problems and mistakes, including merging with Nextel.

In light of those problems, you might wonder what exactly would the company have accomplished through an acquisition of MetroPCS, a budget carrier that only serves select markets and regions?

It’s likely that the rumored deal would have been a spectrum grab had Sprint been successful. MetroPCS has a 4G LTE network, something Sprint is trying to build, and Lightsquared’s inability to secure government approval for its network has hampered Sprint’s plans to co-deploy LTE across the U.S. However, as The Verge points out, integrating spectrum for MetroPCS and Sprint would have been challenging.

There’s not much known about the situation, so the board might have vetoed the deal because of the price tag and perceived financial difficulties, or because they wanted to pursue LTE through different means. Perhaps Sprint might pursue acquiring the remaining shares of Clearwire and using the company to convert towers to LTE. Either way, I’m sure this isn’t the last we’ve heard of Sprint’s efforts to expand the network.