We all know that the wireless industry is a cut-throat business, and with everyone competing on who will get to a wide-spread LTE network first, it is no surprise that national carriers are considering purchasing regional carriers, or even smaller national carriers. We've seen AT&T purchase regional carriers like Dobson Cellular and, of course, Verizon's purchase of Alltel. Most recently, there was the failed attempt at an AT&T/T-Mobile merger, but there are always smaller deals in the works.
This week, one of those deals we didn't even know about fell through. Apparently Sprint Nextel and and MetroPCS have been in talks for months about MetroPCS, a smaller regional carrier, becoming part of the Sprint Nextel family. While the deal did not go through, it took right up to the last minute for it to fail. Apparently, within hours of the final signing, the Sprint board of directors decided to veto the buyout.
The decision, against CEO Dan Hesse's already signing off, seems to be surprising. Sprint has made the commitment to transition to LTE, but their original LTE partner, LightSquared has been hit with FCC issues political and their existing WiMax partner, Clearwire, has had nothing but trouble lately. The addition of MetroPCS to its network would have added MetroPCS's existing LTE footprint, as well as their spectrum, into the fold, giving Sprint their first big win in the LTE process.
Of course, Sprint's response to the rumor was, as always, "we never comment on rumors or speculation."
What do you think? Was killing off the deal a good or a bad move for Sprint Nextel and for MetroPCS? Let us know in the comments section.