Softbank is a Japanese cell phone service provider that agreed to buy 70% of Sprint’s stock. Sprint, in turn, will buy the majority of shares of Clearwire.
Sprint has had a long-standing partnership with Clearwire, but the company experienced some conflict as spectrum swaps occur across telecom land. Wireless providers like Verizon, AT&T, and Sprint are scrambling to increase their spectrum possessions as customers push for more access to data.
AT&T, however, sounded the alarm that the sale of Sprint’s stock to Softbank will give a foreign company control over large amounts of the United States’ spectrum. Softbank would gain control over Clearwire as well as Sprint, which could pose significant risks to the U.S. wireless coverage.
AT&T is also looking to gain government approval for its spectrum deals with NextWave, Comcast, and Horizon. The company is still suffering after the merge with T-Mobile was rejected by government regulators.
When the proposed AT&T and T-Mobile merger was still in discussion, Sprint sued to block the deal several times. It comes as no surprise that AT&T will also block Sprint’s major deal with Softbank, as the two companies have a history of hostility towards one another. Looks like the green eye belongs to AT&T this time around.