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(Reuters) - T-Mobile US Inc TMUS.N is hedging its bets by offering to buy spectrum from smaller rivals in case the takeover by Sprint Corp (S.N) falls through, the New York Post reported, citing a source familiar with the situation.
The company has proposed to several carriers offering to buy their so-called low-band spectrum — the key to urban markets like New York City because it penetrates buildings better than the high-band variety, the newspaper reported. (bit.ly/1yhdZ5N)
T-Mobile has been at a competitive disadvantage as it does not own low-band spectrum and it needs to act independently irrespective of a merger, the report said, citing a source.
T-Mobile could not be immediately reached for comment outside regular U.S. business hours.
SoftBank Corp (9984.T) which last year acquired Sprint, the No.3 U.S. mobile provider, has been eager to combine Sprint with No.4 T-Mobile, arguing that together they would give dominant players AT&T Inc (T.N) and Verizon (VZ.N) more of a run for their money. [ID:nL4N0OY21F]
"Us becoming a more credible competitor in scale is something good for American consumers and citizens," SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said on Tuesday.
"Well, I'm not talking about if this or that. I'm just hopeful that we become (an) effective competitor. I'm not making any comments of, if, this or that," Son replied to a question on SoftBank's fallback plan if the deal fails.
U.S. authorities have expressed a strong reluctance to the possible acquisition, which will reduce the number of main wireless providers to three from four.
T-Mobile may have to resell some of those airwaves if the deal with Sprint is given a green light by regulators, NY Post quoted a source as saying.
Reporting by Sampad Patnaik in Bangalore and Teppei Kasai in Tokyo