Vodafone Gives OK For Verizon Wireless To Bid On Sprint

from the getting-complicated... dept

As if anyone thought this would be easy… Following last week’s news that Sprint was close to a deal to buy Nextel, we noted that Verizon executives had just canceled their weekend plans to see whether or not it would make sense to bid on Sprint themselves (and leave Nextel out in the cold). Of course, since Verizon Wireless is jointly owned by Verizon and Vodafone, a few of those weekend meetings had to involve transatlantic phone calls to the folks at Vodafone to coordinate a plan. It appears that Vodafone, who was spurned in their offer for AT&T Wireless, has given the okay for Verizon Wireless to bid on Sprint. This does not mean that they will make a bid — just that they can. A Verizon Wireless bid would be complicated, and might only be done to cause trouble for the Sprint/Nextel deal, rather than as a serious attempt to buy out Sprint. Verizon certainly would like some more spectrum (something Sprint has), but the deal would be much more complex, and require a lot more scrutiny. Again, the issue of Sprint and Verizon having the same CDMA technology is a bit of a red herring. It’s certainly nice for initial integration of networks, but there are many more issues involved in merging these two companies — starting at the top: getting regulatory approval isn’t going to be nearly as easy as Sprint/Nextel. Considering Verizon’s current position in the market, the amount of time that Cingular is going to take to digest AT&T Wireless, and the opportunities to pick up spare spectrum from others, Verizon Wireless might be better off just letting Sprint and Nextel get on with their deal, and focus on picking up the pieces in the ensuing integration period.

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