Sprint, the third largest cellphone carrier in the country, is preparing a bid to purchase T-Mobile, the fourth largest carrier, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Sprint is studying regulatory concerns and could launch a bid in the first half of next year,” which “could be worth more than $20 billion,” the Journal reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
In 2011, AT&T attempted to purchase T-Mobile but eventually backed down after the Department of Justice and the Federal Communications Commission came out against the merger.
In its suit to block the merger, the Justice Department discussed the benefit of having four major carriers. The Sprint/T-Mobile merger, like the proposed AT&T/T-Mobile merger, would reduce the market to three major carriers.
Public interest groups came out against the reported merger on Friday.
“There is no apparent benefit to the public from this long-rumored union, and hopefully this news will prove to be just a rumor once again,” Free Press CEO Craig Aaron said in a statement.
“As they did in blocking the would-have-been-disastrous merger between AT&T and T-Mobile, the FCC and Justice Department must carefully and closely scrutinize this deal and its impacts on consumers and their wallets.”
In a statement, a Public Knowledge spokesman said the group “feels like the market is already concentrated as it is, and we’d be skeptical of any further mergers.”