MetroPCS has suddenly become very popular.

T-Mobile USA's parent company, Deutsche Telekom, announced Wednesday it plans to take a 74 percent stake in the no-contract carrier, with Metro retaining 24 percent and picking up a $1.5 billion shareholder pay day.

When the deal wraps in the first part of next year, the companies will merge into one T-Mobile entity, though retain separate customer pools.

However, a report surfaced Thursday that Sprint, the nation's third largest carrier, is considering a bid to take MetroPCS in T-Mobile's stead.

Intrigue

Three anonymous sources familiar with the situation spoke with Bloomberg Businessweek about the matter, and reportedly revealed Sprint is tabulating whether or not it can come up with a higher offer.

TechRadar contacted Sprint for verification of this report, but was told that the company doesn't comment on rumors and speculation by a company spokesperson.

However, according to Businessweek's sources, the company started mulling over a MetroPCS buyout several weeks ago - before T-Mobile went public with its deal.

A decision whether to pursue a purchase could come as early as next week, two of the sources said.

Sprint hasn't approached Metro yet about any deal, another source added.

While the T-Mobile/Metro deal limits Sprint's consolidation power, according to the Stifel Financial Corp., if either side backs out of the deal now, it would spell millions in breakup fees.

John Legere, who'll oversee the newly consolidated firm of T-Mobile and MetroPCS, said earlier this week that if T-Mobile backs out of the deal, it'll owe Metro $250 million.

Should Metro get cold feet, it will owe T-Mo $150 million.

Yet another source said Deutsche Telekom is prepared for a Sprint counter bid and would consider better terms if presented with those options.

Sprint reportedly abandoned plans in early 2012 to buy MetroPCS after its board rejected the $8 billion transaction, which included debt.

Sprint also apparently considered buying T-Mobile before a March 2011 announcement that AT&T wanted to pick up T-Mo for $39 billion. That deal fell through due to regulator hinderance.

Via Bloomberg Businessweek