Charter sprints from rinky-dink Sprint hints

US comms giant denies buyout rumors, says it prefers Verizon for the time being

No, just stop. Nope. photo by shutterstock
Thanks but no thanks

US cable monster Charter Communications says it has no interest in acquiring mobile carrier Sprint – at least for the time being.

This after industry rumors suggested Charter was mulling making a bid for Sprint that would give the cableco an in‑house mobile provider. Charter is otherwise poised to launch a cellphone service piggybacking on Verizon's network in 2018. Buying Sprint would allow Charter to ditch Verizon at the altar.

However, in an email to The Register on Tuesday, a spokesperson for Charter shot down speculation that it will snap up Sprint from Japanese giant Softbank.

"We understand why a deal is attractive for SoftBank, but Charter has no interest in acquiring Sprint," the spokesperson said. "We have a very good MVNO [mobile virtual network operator] relationship with Verizon and intend to launch wireless services to cable customers next year."

It was also rumored that Softbank was eyeing up Charter. The US cableco had no comment on that.

Right now, Charter offers home and business cable internet, TV, and landline phone service. It will expand into wireless phone and data service as well, thanks to the 2011 MVNO deal that allowed both it and fellow cable kingpin Comcast to run their own branded services on Verizon's mobile network.

Sprint has been the subject of multiple acquisition rumors in recent months, as it still sits in fourth place among the four big US carriers and has been working to build out its network. The most popular match has been with number-three carrier T‑Mobile USA, though a similar deal between the two failed when they could not convince antitrust regulators.

Sprint did today report [PDF] that even without a big merger secured, it has managed to grow its subscriber ranks in each of the last eight quarters – most recently with the addition of 88,000 new postpaid accounts in the quarter ending June 30. ®

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