T-Mobile and Sprint announced Sunday that they reached an agreement to combine into a new company that would reshape the US wireless landscape by reducing it to three major cellphone providers, the AP reports. The deal would help the companies slash costs and could make them a stronger competitor to the larger AT&T and Verizon. But consumers might see higher prices because the combined company would not have to offer as many promotions to lure customers. The proposed all-stock deal values Sprint at about $59 billion and the combined company at $146 billion.
Sprint dropped its bid for T-Mobile more than three years ago after running into concerns about wireless competition in the Obama administration. The two were poised to combine in October, but that deal was called off, too. Sprint and its owner, the Japanese conglomerate SoftBank, have long been looking for a deal as the company has struggled to compete on its own. Sprint has a lot of debt and has posted a string of annual losses. T-Mobile, meanwhile, has been on a yearslong streak of adding customers. After the government nixed AT&T's attempt to buy the company in 2011, T-Mobile led the way in many consumer-friendly changes, such as ditching two-year contracts and bringing back unlimited data plans.
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