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Sprint starts mobile partnership talks with 2 US cable TV providers

SoftBank unit also set to continue merger talks with T-Mobile US

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  © Reuters

WASHINGTON -- Sprint, the fourth-largest mobile carrier in the U.S., has begun talks with two of the country's major cable television providers regarding a potential mobile business partnership, the Nikkei learned Monday. 

According to financial sources, although the company -- which is part of SoftBank Group -- will prioritize negotiations with Charter Communications and Comcast for the time being, it also plans to continue integration talks with the third-largest player, T-Mobile US, which is majority owned by Deutsche Telekom.

Charter and Comcast agreed in May to jointly enter the mobile business.

According to sources, the two companies will pay the costs of building the communications network and Sprint will provide its lines under preferential terms. Charter and Comcast may also acquire stakes in Sprint, the sources said.

SoftBank acquired Sprint in 2013. At the time, Sprint agreed a business integration with T-Mobile with the aim of becoming a carrier that could challenge industry leader Verizon Communications and No. 2 AT&T. But the plan was shelved in the face of opposition from the Obama administration on anti-monopoly grounds.

A SoftBank representative declined to comment on the deal.

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