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Worst of the Week: Verizon, Yahoo, T-Mobile and Sprint – let’s make a deal!

The pending Verizon purchase of Yahoo and possibility of a Sprint and T-Mobile tie-up show insane deals are what makes the telecom world go round.

Hello! And welcome to our Friday column, Worst of the Week. There’s a lot of nutty stuff that goes on in this industry, so this column is a chance for us at RCRWireless.com to rant and rave about whatever rubs us the wrong way. We hope you enjoy it!

I hope my years spent writing this column has left the impression that I love deals. More specifically, I love deals that involve a lot of money and that make no sense.

Luckily I cover a space that is, has and looks set to always be rich in such deals.

Highlighting my enthusiasm for all things deal related, there are two of note that have drifted to top of my love list. The first is Verizon Communications pending acquisition of Yahoo, while the second is Sprint acquiring T-Mobile US.

The former is awesome because it’s slowly becoming a deal the acquirer has got to be regretting ever getting involved in, while the latter is a deal that is not officially a deal, but is a deal that just has to happen for no other reason than every reason.

First, let’s tackle Verizon-Yahoo.

I can only imagine Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam will be sporting a nice welt on his forehead through the holidays from slapping his hand to said head space thanks to the chaos coming out of Yahoo. The latest being word that up to 1 billion email accounts may have been compromised dating back to 2013. This is on top of the 500 million or so accounts hacked in a previous attack.

I know the internet is a wild-and-crazy place, but for a company with the resources of a Yahoo, you would think they could have either attempted to limit such an attack or at least known about it at some point over the previous three years. Or maybe I am just giving Yahoo way too much credit for a past that is so far in its past as to now be irrelevant.

For a company in Verizon that prides itself on a buttoned up operation, the thought of brining Yahoo on board with what appears to be an unlocked screen door security policy is worth a few slaps to the forehead. And not surprising, word is Verizon is looking for a way to back out of the nearly $5 billion acquisition.

While I can definitely see Verizon’s angle in wanting to get out of this deal from a public relations perspective, from a personal perspective, ditching the deal would leave little chance of ever bringing together two internet giants of the past in AOL, which Verizon already acquired, and Yahoo and placing them both under an awesome name like Compuserve or Netscape.

On the other side of the dial is Sprint and T-Mobile US, which thanks to a recent meeting between SoftBank – and Sprint – Chairman Masayoshi Son with President-elect Donald Trump regarding plans to invest up to $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new jobs, is now back on the radar as a possible merger-in-waiting. Or at least I hope it is.

This potential tie-up is one that has been simmering for a few years, though the flames were a bit tamped down under the current administration. But, with change in the air and promises of billions of dollars and tens of thousands of jobs on point, I am hoping for cheap gas to be thrown on this fire.

Sure, Sprint has been able to somewhat stabilize operations over the past year or so, a fate dictated by Son’s on-again, off-again interest in his U.S. assets. But how long can that last? It’s not like the domestic wireless market is getting any less competitive.

Which brings us to T-Mobile US, which despite running roughshod over its rivals has yet to garner a deep love from parent company Deutsche Telekom. Not sure what else John Legere and company could have done over the past three years for its DT parents, but it appears getting all A’s on the report card is not enough.

But, as is the case with Sprint, how much longer can T-Mobile US expect to mine growth from a saturated market? New connection growth from traditional services is basically irrelevant at this point, which means stealing customers is the only real path for expansion. T-Mobile US’ rivals have finally become hip to its methods and have begun to shore up that leaking ship.

More importantly, bringing together the style, culture and leadership of Sprint and T-Mobile US would be awesome to watch. I doubt it would reach the level of insanity witnessed by the integration of Nextel Communications into Sprint, but it would definitely be more public, with insight provided 140 characters at a time.

Let’s just hope in either case, common sense does not win out and Verizon stays the course with Yahoo and Sprint finally makes its play for T-Mobile US. This industry has a reputation to protect.

Thanks for checking out this week’s column. Here’s a couple of quick extras to get you through the weekend:

–Speaking of T-Mobile US, mad props to the carrier for photo-bombing AT&T’s DirecTV Now launch by offering up consumers a free year of the service if they switch from AT&T Mobility.

The $420 offer does require those switchers to bring at least two lines of service from AT&T Mobility and the need to sign up for T-Mobile US’ One “unlimited” plan, but it’s still a nifty promotion in the heart of the holiday season.

More importantly, it shows T-Mobile US still has a bit of a chip on its shoulder in terms of needling AT&T, and that’s something that needs to continue.

–Strategy Analytics this week released a report predicting the personal service robot market will surge 280% through 2022, while the professional service robot market will climb 600% through the same time frame.

North America was noted as having the highest penetration of service robots in use (no surprise … there I said it), with the research firm citing those that vacuum, mow and clean pools. However, as with just about anything robot-related, the Asia-Pacific region is set to be a hot spot of growth in the coming years, especially in terms of service robots.

Most importantly the report was very informative in that I did not really think about the differences between the personal service and professional service robot markets as being in fact two different markets; personal service robots include vacuum cleaners and personal companion robots, while professional service robots are delivery and cleaning robots.

Glad that point has been clarified before I embarrassed myself in front of one such robot. Hate to assume my Roomba is some sort of professional cleaning robot when in fact it’s nothing but a personal service robot.

https://youtu.be/VXa9tXcMhXQ

–Finally, this will be the last WOTW for 2016, so I wanted to leave everyone with a festive number for the holidays and hope to see everyone safe and sound in the new year.

I welcome your comments. Please send me an e-mail at dmeyer@rcrwireless.com.

Bored? Why not follow me on Twitter.

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