A report from the Wall Street Journal today indicates Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse are scheduled to meet with the FCC. Sources indicate that one of the topics of discussion is a possible merger with T-Mobile. During January, it was revealed that Sprint obtained some proposals from different banks that demonstrated how a merger of the two carriers could be made to work financially. That would only be one hurdle to be jumped if the merger is ever going to happen. It is looking more and more like regulatory approvals will be the bigger problem, which would be a good reason for the two CEOs to spend some time during a face to face meeting with FCC officials to discuss the merger.
According to different sources, the Department of Justice appears reluctant, if not being outright against the idea, to see the number of “major” carriers being reduced from four down to three. SoftBank and Sprint are likely to counter that argument by pointing out that Verizon and AT&T are the heavyweights in the market and the weakness of the third and fourth largest carriers is actually hurting competition, a situation that could be corrected by allowing the merger to occur. By meeting with the FCC, SoftBank/Sprint may also be able to get a government agency on board with the concept to help in the battle with the Department of Justice.