softbank and sprint set to merge

Today SoftBank and Sprint received clearance from the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States to go ahead with plans for a merger.

In October of last year, SoftBank and Sprint entered into talks to merge, which would bail out some of Sprint’s previous bad choices that left it $21 billion in debt. It would also hopefully allow for upgrading the network to complete LTE and compete with other carriers who are claiming a mostly-complete network.

It’s no secret that Sprint has been hemorrhaging money on its network after a series of bold but bad decisions, which included half-deploying WiMAX 4G (a standard that was rather abruptly dropped) and paying billions to acquire the rights to sell the iPhone, which severely overloaded the already overloaded 3G network and is a long-term investment that does not show returns quickly.

It’s expected that the U.S. Department of Justice, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, and the U.S. Department of Homeland security will still review the details of the merger for potential threats to national security.

Even with the approval of all parties above, there are still potential hurdles in the way of the merger. The Federal Communication Commission still has to approve, along with Sprint’s shareholders, but that doesn’t appear to be a large concern to those involved at the moment, as SoftBank and Sprint expect the merger to go through in July of this year.

Hopefully the merger will happen, and Sprint can invest some serious time and money into making the network worthy of the phones they flagship on it.

[SprintThanks, Bill!