Sprint and T-Mobile may be discussing the possibility of a merger wherein Deutsche Telekom-owned T-Mobile USA would be sold to Sprint “in exchange for a major stake in the combined entity, said people with knowledge of the matter.

The negotiations have apparently “been on and off, and a deal may not be reached,” according to Bloomberg’s sources. One of the sticking points may be T-Mobile’s overall value in the face of downward-sliding profits.

Sprint and T-Mobile are the third- and fourth-largest mobile operators in the U.S., respectively, behind Verizon and AT&T. While a representative from Sprint declined to comment on the story, Deutsche Telekom CFO Timotheus Hoettges told Bloomberg regarding T-Mobile, “In general, all options are open in the U.S.—the sale of the whole business or of parts.”

A merger of this size would certainly benefit Sprint and T-Mobile, as it’d give the combined entity the subscriber numbers and nationwide cellular coverage needed to compete more aggressively with Verizon and AT&T. It’d be interesting to see how a Sprint-T-Mobile 4G strategy would take form, as well.

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