Amazon is reportedly expressing interest in acquiring Boost Mobile, the prepaid wireless cellphone service owned by T-Mobile U.S. and Sprint.
Reuters, citing two sources familiar with the matter, reported Amazon is interested in Boost because it would enable it to use the new T-Mobile wireless network for six or more years. New T-Mobile is the name of the combined company that will come out of the merger of the two — if regulators sign off on it. The report noted Amazon is also interested in purchasing any wireless spectrum that the two sell as a result of their merger. Reuters noted it’s not clear why Amazon would want access to the wireless network as well as wireless spectrum. The eCommerce giant does enable customers to make phone calls through its Echo devices but relies on the user’s home phone service. Alexa, its voice-activated personal assistant, can make phone calls through the feature.
Boost is one of the assets T-Mobile and Sprint said they would sell to win approval for their deal which is valued at $26 billion. By selling Boost, it will lower their market share in the prepaid wireless market. The buyer of Boost has to ensure it would continue operations so that consumers still have choices. T-Mobile and Sprint are also looking at unloading wireless spectrum to get the deal closed.
Sources told Reuters that Boost could get as much as $3 billion in a sale. The unit has anywhere from 7 million to 8 million customers. If a deal with Amazon includes wireless spectrum, it could be valued at $4.5 billion, Cowen estimated in May.
In late April of 2018, T-Mobile and Sprint announced the $26 billion merger, marking the third time the two companies have tried in recent years to combine. If the deal gets the nod from antitrust enforcers it would leave the U.S. wireless market with three major players. The aim when the deal was announced was to have it close in the first half of 2019.
The all-stock deal has T-Mobile exchanging 9.75 Sprint shares for each T-Mobile share.
T-Mobile parent Deutsche Telekom will own 42 percent of the combined company — which will be known as T-Mobile — and Sprint parent SoftBank Group will own 27 percent. The remaining 31 percent will be held by the public.