Verizon CEO Daniel Mead said he has no interest in buying Sprint, even if that means it relinquishes the top spot to AT&T/T-Mobile.
“We’re not interested in Sprint,” said Mead. “We don’t need them.”
On Sunday, AT&T surprised the industry by announcing the acquisition of rival T-Mobile, in a massive $39 billion deal that creates a combined carrier with 130 million customers. Verizon, in comparison, has roughly 100 million. Sprint, which was also in talks with T-Mobile, now trails at 50 million.
While a Verizon/Sprint merger would give it more customers than AT&T/T-Mobile, Verizon, as Mead said, may not even need Sprint. Unlike Verizon, which locks in a higher rate of postpaid subscribers, T-Mobile predominantly targets the low-tier prepaid segment. That means many T-Mobile customers may jump ship and move to Verizon since they’re not bound by contract, evening out AT&T’s lead.
Mead added that antitrust authorities would likely approve the deal, if AT&T agrees to certain conditions, expected to range from the selloff of some spectrum and towers, to an expansion into rural areas.
“Anything can go through if you make enough concessions,” Mead said, adding that he would not oppose the deal.
The Basking Ridge, N.J.-based carrier is not yet feeling the heat. It has been busy beefing up its portfolio of products and services to differentiate itself from AT&T. Both carriers are finally selling essentially the same Apple products in the iPhone and iPad, and it is on track to release a spate of 4G phones over the coming months, starting with the HTC Incredible last week.
In addition, it is rolling out a new 4G calling service, called VoLTE, that will allow its customers to video chat on its data network.