Alexa! Buy me Boost Mobile from Sprint, says report

31 May 2019 | Alan Burkitt-Gray

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Amazon has entered the competition to buy Boost Mobile from Sprint, Reuters reported last night.

The agency says it has two sources – both unnamed – who are “familiar with the matter”.

Sprint has already agreed with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) that it will sell Boost, a prepaid mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) as a condition for approval of its $26 billion merger with T-Mobile US.

Capacity reported yesterday that sources are talking about a price of up to $3 billion for Boost Mobile, which is based in Irvine, California – more than 1,500 miles from Sprint’s headquarters in Kansas City.

Interest until yesterday came mainly from other telecoms companies, which were putting together bids with the help of potential private equity partners.

But Reuters reported that Amazon would be interested not only in the Boost Mobile business and customers but also some spectrum. That might make the unit eligible to be classed as a separate mobile operator, not just an MVNO: the US Department of Justice is understood to want T-Mobile US and Sprint to enable the creation of a fourth facilities-based operator as a condition for allowing the merger.

The news agency points out that Amazon is already straying into the telecoms world, by allowing its Alexa unit to make calls via its Echo Connect service.

Sprint has never disclosed how many customers are on the Boost Mobile service, though it has said that it has 8.8 million between a number of prepaid brands, including Assurance Wireless, Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile, as well as some Sprint-branded prepaid customers.