Right now there are four major mobile carriers in the U.S., Verizon, AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile. When AT&T’s bid to acquire T-Mobile ultimately fell through, nobody thought that another major carrier would immediately move to pick up the fourth largest U.S. carrier. Given that considerable time has passed since that failed attempt, a new report by The Wall Street Journal claims that Sprint is gearing up to bid for T-Mobile U.S. If it goes through, rather if regulators let it go through, the U.S. market will effectively be left with three major carriers.

It is reported that Sprint is likely to make an offer in the first half of 2014, the offer is likely to be to the tune of $20 billion. Sprint’s bid is almost half of what AT&T offered back in 2011, around $39 billion. There’s an obvious advantage here for Sprint to consider this bid. Bringing T-Mobile’s subscriber base and infrastructure on board will enable Sprint to launch much more effective competition against behemoths like Verizon and AT&T. Both Sprint and T-Mobile’s subscriber bases account for less than what AT&T holds, roughly 109 million. The question remains though, is Sprint going to face regulatory hurdles that might make it impossible to pursue this any further? That remains to be seen. There has been no official comment from either Sprint or T-Mobile confirming if talks are under way. So before a bid is officially made, we must hold on to those grains of salt.

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