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Verizon CEO Dismisses Sprint-T-Mobile Merger: ‘We Don’t Care’

May 3, 2018, 2:39 PM UTC

T-Mobile and Sprint say one reason for their $26.5 billion merger is so they can achieve the size needed to compete with their larger wireless brethren, Verizon and AT&T.

Apparently, they have yet to grab the interest of Verizon CEO Lowell McAdam. In a pair of interviews this week ahead of his company’s annual shareholder meeting outside Seattle, McAdam is dismissive of the effort to combine the third and fourth-ranked carriers in his market.

“We don’t care, is the answer to that,” McAdam told Seattle-based tech news site GeekWire. Referring to previous attempted mergers that have been blocked by regulators, he added: “Maybe the fourth time is the charm here, I don’t know.”

The Seattle Times got a similar response. “We don’t have a point of view on whether it goes through or it doesn’t,” McAdam told the newspaper. “We frankly don’t care.”

T-Mobile CEO John Legere and Sprint CEO Marcelo Claire have also been pushing hard on the idea that only by combining can T-Mobile and Sprint push forward quickly enough to outpace the Chinese in the next generation of wireless networks known as 5G. Claure and Legere derided AT&T and Verizon’s 5G efforts as too little, too late.

“The U.S. needs to lead in 5G,” Claure said in an interview on CNBC on Monday. “The only way to lead 5G is by combining Sprint and T-Mobile. AT&T (T) cannot do it. Verizon cannot do…the way we’re going to build this 5G network.”

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Not surprisingly, McAdam disagreed. “I don’t think that merger matters from a 5G perspective,” he told GeekWire. We’re going to do it regardless and we’re way ahead of everybody. We’ve made all the investments that are required in fiber and millimeter wave spectrum and those sorts of things.”

If regulators agree with Verizon’s (VZ) McAdam, that would undercut one of the prime benefits Legere and Claure have offered for merging T-Mobile (TMUS) and Sprint (S).