|By Shelly Palmer||
|December 15, 2013 11:11 AM EST||
Sprint, the third biggest wireless carrier in the US, is preparing to buy out its rival T-Mobile, according to a new report from The Wall Street Journal. While a potential deal is a ways off, Sprint is expected to put in its bid in the first half of 2014 and could pay more than $20 billion for its rival. While Sprint, which itself was recently acquired by Japan’s Softbank, hasn’t officially decided to go forward with such a move, a merger of the third- and fourth-largest wireless carriers could build a company large enough to rival the dominant forces of Verizon and AT&T. Indeed, according to the WSJ, Softbank is a driving force behind the potential sale — the company reportedly wants to increase its footprint in the US wireless market beyond where Sprint currently sits.