What do you get when you mix the third-and-fourth-largest wireless phone carriers together?
You get a combined wireless carrier that serves about 100 million subscribers and a coverage area that nearly blankets the U.S. (It’s closest rivals AT&T and Verizon Wireless are both nationwide and have 100 million subscribers apiece.)
In the map below, provided by Mosaik Solutions, T-Mobile’s coverage area is pink; Sprint’s is yellow and the dark purple area is where the two companies overlap.
What you can see is that together the two cover nearly every city, with the major exceptions being rural areas, and the states of Alaska and Montana. Wyoming and the Dakotas are not covered very well, either. T-Mobile of Bellevue, Wash. has a slightly larger coverage area, but has fewer subscribers at 49 million compared to Sprint’s 55 million.
The two companies are believed to be hammering out a merger agreement that could take place this summer. Talks could still fall apart, but it’s largely believed that the announcement will happen, with Sprint acquiring T-Mobile for about $40 a share in cash and stock for a total value of $32 billion. The affable T-Mobile CEO John Legere is rumored to become the new CEO, taking over for Sprint CEO Dan Hesse, if the deal went down.
Regulators in Washington, D.C. will be looking closely at this map to determine whether it is in the public’s best interest to see the number of national carriers fall from four to three.
The New York Times, which first printed these maps, said it is not a question of Sprint and T-Mobile making the case that the merger will offer more choice to consumers, but rather that the combined entity will create a company that can truly compete with AT&T and Verizon, both financially and technologically.
In a second map, also provided by Moaik, you can see that Sprint and T-Mobile together would have access to a significant amount of wireless spectrum, which is necessary for serving voice and data to the masses. Combined, the two would have enough holdings to be truly national, which could potentially strengthen their argument.