Would Google Buy Sprint?

from the and-what-would-they-do-with-it? dept

Last month, when Sprint's investors pressured former CEO Gary Forsee to resign, Derek Kerton's post here on Techdirt made some compelling points:
"The disconnect is that investors in Sprint are risk-averse, Blue-chip, dividend seekers. They invested in Sprint when it was a utility company. But Sprint's 'gambit' into WiMAX has taken them way out of the 'utility company' comfort zone -- and the reaction of the investors is as expected. With Xohm, Sprint's risk profile is looking more and more like a big tech firm, say Yahoo or Apple. Today's Sprint needs risk-seeking investors, not fixed-income seekers."
Could a big risk-seeking investor -- who surely sees an opportunity in "big tech" rather than as a "utility" play be coming along? That, at least, is the premise of a blog post from Rich Tehrani kicking off speculation that Google is sniffing around to buy Sprint -- a rumor perhaps accurately called "hare-brained" by Eric Savitz.

While I tend to lean towards Savitz's view of the likelihood of such a deal, there are some nuggets in there that could make this slightly more interesting. Obviously, Google has a tremendous interest in the mobile space these days, believing it's a key part of its continued growth. The company has made plenty of noise about its supposed intention to bid for the 700 MHz spectrum that's coming up for auction. On top of that, it's increasingly looking like Sprint's WiMax plans are in trouble. However, Sprint still controls a huge chunk of 2.5 GHz spectrum that is quite valuable (whether its used for WiMax or some other wireless broadband technology). It's not entirely ridiculous to think that Google has at least kicked the tires on a plan that would involve getting access to that spectrum. It seems like a stretch that Google would want to burden itself with all the additional legacy issues associated with Sprint, but that chunk of spectrum sure must look tempting to a company with billions of dollars on hand, just waiting to be spent.

Filed Under: rumors, wimax, wireless
Companies: google, sprint


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  1. identicon
    fred andrews, 12 Nov 2007 @ 12:36pm

    Google Sprint

    As a former employee of sprint (along with a significant percentage of KC residents) - finding someone with some marketing muscle and vision with high tech awareness like Google might be sprint's salvation. The biggest knock on sprint is customer service and dropped calls. Any new take over of sprint may end up reducing the work force in KC. If that happens, a lot of good folks will be hurt when management is their biggest problem.

    I am still a sprint customer, but have always been amazed at how Sprint and other mobile phone companies offer major inducements to get new customers and little to keep existing customers.

    All I want is a phone that works as a phone when I need it to work like a phone. Maybe Google can facilitate that functionality while making the phone a mobile point of access for everything else.

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