Jeff Kagan: What if Amazon Acquires Sprint's Boost Mobile?

Jeff Kagan  |

Several years ago, I predicted something that is now coming true. Amazon, Facebook, Comcast, Charter and others moved into wireless and completely failed. In the last few years Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile and Altice Mobile are coming back to wireless. Now, rumor is that Amazon may acquire Boost Mobile from Sprint so they can merge with T-Mobile.

Amazon's  (AMZN) interest and appetite for wireless has not dimmed. They still want to be a wireless player. After all, Comcast  (CMCSA), Charter  (CHTR) and Altice  (ATUS) are coming back… why not Amazon?

If Amazon is considering acquiring Boost Mobile from Sprint  (S) so Sprint can merge with T-Mobile  (TMUS), I hope they know what they are doing.

Xfinity Mobile, Spectrum Mobile, Altice Mobile re-enter wireless

Cable TV is offering wireless as a reseller or mobile virtual network operator (MVNO). Comcast and Charter resell Verizon Wireless  (VZ). Altice will resell Sprint when they enter the space.

The next player up to bat may be Amazon. They entered wireless in the past with their Fire Phone. It was an innovative device, but it still failed. Part of the reason was the Apple iPhone and Google Android super smartphones had entered the marketplace and were re-writing the rules of the industry.

The marketplace may be receptive now that several years have passed and the newness of iPhone and Android have calmed down. Another question is will Amazon offer an Android smartphone or will it be their own design the way Huawei is starting to do?

Rumor is Amazon may acquire the pre-paid Sprint service called Boost Mobile. If you recall, several years ago Sprint acquired Boost Mobile. So, it is not part of the Sprint brand and would be relatively easy to spin-off. That’s the good news.

Would Amazon acquire the Boost Mobile brand or the network to re-enter wireless?

The real question I ask is this. What about the network? In the years since the acquisition, Sprint says Boost now uses their network. If that’s the case, what would Amazon be acquiring, the brand or the network?

If they would be only acquiring the Boost Mobile brand, there is some value in that, but not much. Not enough for company the size and scope of Amazon.

So, I think there must be the network that goes along with the Boost brand. If that’s the case, then it may be the older Boost network if it’s even still around. Sprint has had a tough enough row to hoe keeping their own network up to date.

As things have been moving forward at light speed over the last decade, if that’s true, will the Boost network be robust enough for Amazon?

Amazon after all doesn’t want to harm their reputation or brand by tying it to yesterday. So, what would Amazon be acquiring? The brand or the network?

Lots of questions, few answers regarding Amazon acquiring Boost Mobile

This is an interesting question. This latest rumor of Amazon acquiring Boost Mobile is stirring up lots of interesting questions for which there don’t seem to be any clear and easy answers.

This is not the only problem area. Over the last several years Sprint has said it was getting better and stronger. However, talking to the US Congress, they say how they are weaker than ever and absolutely need to merge with T-Mobile.

These are two completely different stories. Which is true?

Sprint has strengths and weaknesses. They have lots of wireless spectrum. That makes them strong from that perspective. That’s what I think T-Mobile really wants to sink their teeth into.

AT&T Mobility, Verizon Wireless, T-Mobile, Sprint

Sprint has spectrum but has not been a good marketer. They have been a weak participant in the competitive arena against AT&T Mobility  (T), Verizon Wireless and T-Mobile. So, they really need to merge with T-Mobile.

Let me say that I have followed Sprint for decades and I wish them the best. I hope they succeed going forward. In fact, I wish T-Mobile the best. I want them both to succeed, either separately or together. However, I also want to be able to trust and believe everything they say.

Unfortunately, there are often two different stories being told depending on the audience creating lots of confusion. So, which version is the truth? I think that’s the real question that regulators, Congress and the American people really want to know.

And as far as Amazon acquiring Boost Mobile, a friendly word of advice to Amazon. Make sure you go into this negotiation with your eyes wide open. Know exactly what you are doing. You are not a wireless company. Make sure you have wireless experts advising you. Your future in wireless will depend on it.


Jeff Kagan is an Equities.com columnist. Kagan is a Wireless Analyst, Telecom Analyst, Industry Analyst, Influencer, speaker and consultant. He follows wireless, wire line, telecom, Internet, pay TV, cable TV, IPTV, Cloud, Mobile Pay and communications technology. Email him at jeff@jeffKAGAN.com. His web site is www.jeffKAGAN.com. Follow him on Twitter @jeffkagan.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not represent the views of equities.com. Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to: http://www.equities.com/disclaimer

Companies

Symbol Name Price Change % Volume
S Sprint Corporation 7.26 0.16 2.18 13,019,100 Trade
TMUS T-Mobile US Inc. 75.98 0.71 0.94 2,204,463 Trade
CHTR Charter Communications Inc. 396.67 2.60 0.66 581,840 Trade
VZ Verizon Communications Inc. 57.49 -0.14 -0.24 6,345,403 Trade
T AT&T Inc. 32.49 0.19 0.59 11,067,498 Trade
CMCSA Comcast Corporation Class A Common Stock 43.09 0.53 1.23 9,670,787 Trade
ATUS Altice USA Inc. Class A 23.90 0.64 2.75 3,844,825 Trade
AMZN Amazon.com Inc. 1,907.00 20.97 1.11 2,780,144 Trade

Comments

Watchlist

Symbol Last Price Change % Change
AAPL

     
AMZN

     
HD

     
JPM

     
IBM

     

Can the Media Solve the Partisan Conflict?

Andrew McCarthy, Contributing Editor, The National Review; Michael Zeldin, CNN Legal Analyst; Celeste Katz, Senior Political Reporter, Glamour; Silvia Davi, SVP, Contributing Editor, Equities.com; and Doug Simon, CEO, D S Simon Media discuss how the media’s role has shaped the landscape for communicators and what the media is trying to do to reduce discord in society.