Deutsche Telekom has agreed to an offer for Japanese mobile and broadband company SoftBank to buy T-Mobile USA, according to a news report.
Japanese news site Kyodo News, which reported the agreement, didn't give details of the price or structure of the deal.
The deal would combine SoftBank-owned Sprint, the third largest U.S. mobile carrier, with T-Mobile, the fourth largest. The combined company would have more than 103 million subscribers, but it would still be No. 3 behind Verizon Wireless, with about 122 million subscribers, and AT&T, with 116 million.
SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has pushed for a merger between Sprint and T-Mobile, saying a combined company is necessary to successfully compete with the two largest mobile carriers. A combined company would be able to invest in its network and push AT&T and Verizon on prices and services, he has said.
U.S. officials at the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice have raised competitive concerns about a potential merger between Sprint and T-Mobile USA. Both agencies would have to approve the deal.
Officials with Deutsche Telekom and SoftBank weren't available for comment.
SoftBank's US$21.6 billion acquisition of Sprint closed last July.
Grant Gross covers technology and telecom policy in the U.S. government for The IDG News Service. Follow Grant on Twitter at GrantGross. Grant's email address is [email protected]