Sprint starts mobile partnership talks with 2 United States cable TV providers

US stock indexes edge lower in early trading; oil rises

Comcast has already launched a wireless service under its own brand, Xfinity Mobile, via its MVNO agreement with Verizon Communications. Analysts have said that the telecoms and cable sectors are primed for a wave of deal activity, and executives have openly talked about potential mergers.

Sprint has the largest airwave holdings of all the US carriers, which is an attractive asset as mobile video consumption eats up network capacity.

The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 19.69 points, or 0.8 percent, to 2,419.38.

Competition from T-Mobile has resulted in notably lower prices over the past year. Another topic discussed was Comcast and Charter jointly buying Sprint, though that scenario is less likely, one of the people said.

According to sources, the two companies will pay the costs of building the communications network and Sprint will provide its lines under preferential terms. The approval of the negotiation is likely to boost the two US cable companies' wireless offerings.

International Monetary Fund cuts USA growth forecasts, cites Trump fiscal plan uncertainty
The IMF cut its forecast for USA economic growth for this year to 2.1% from a previous estimate of 2.3%. Growth will slip to 1.9 per cent in 2019 and 1.8 per cent in 2020, according to the fund's forecasts.

"While a single cable company entering into any transaction with Sprint has a strong likelihood of regulatory approval, a joint bid raises questions that add some uncertainty", Chaplin wrote. T-Mobile's network tops Sprint's in network speed tests, and T-Mobile spent billions of dollars earlier this year to buy more wireless spectrum licenses that will further strengthen its network.

This deal could see Charter and Comcast invest in Sprint to help improve its network in exchange for offering more favorable terms for wireless service when using Sprint's network.

Hoettges declined to give any comment about possible consolidation in the United States, saying only that the market remained more attractive than Europe.

A deal with Comcast and Charter probably would not face the same problem: They vow to add to competition in wireless. Altice NV, the European telecom giant controlled by French billionaire Patrick Drahi, just completed an initial public offering for its US cable arm, Altice USA, the fourth-largest cable company by subscribers through its acquisitions of Cablevision Systems Corp. and Suddenlink Communications in the past couple of years.

Jefferies Analyst Mike McCormack, meanwhile, said it's unsurprising that Comcast and Charter are interested in talking to Sprint.

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