Q Link tosses hat in the ring for potential Boost buy

Boost Mobile founder Peter Adderton isn’t the only one expressing interest in acquiring the prepaid business should the T-Mobile/Sprint merger get approved.  

The founder and CEO of Q Link Wireless, Issa Asad, said Boost would be a good fit with Q Link, which is Sprint’s largest MVNO customer and the third largest Lifeline operator behind Tracfone and Assurance Wireless.

That revelation came as reports surfaced Friday that the deal might get the green light from the Department of Justice (DoJ) after all. Earlier last week, FCC Chairman Ajit Pai announced he would support the merger if certain conditions were met, including the buildout of 5G in rural areas of the country as well as the divestiture of the Boost business. Sprint’s prepaid brands include Boost, Virgin and Assurance.

But shortly after that news, reports surfaced that the DoJ staff was once again voicing concerns about the market moving from four to three. On Friday, the New York Post reported that Pai had “consulted” with Makan Delrahim, the head of the antitrust division at the DoJ, suggesting Delrahim might be poised to overrule a recommendation from the DoJ’s staff to block the deal, according to unnamed sources.

Adderton, who founded Boost and sold it before it eventually landed under Sprint’s domain, has made no secret of his desire to re-acquire the Boost brand and give it another go, with aspirations to make it a global entity.  

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Asad started Q Link in 2011, and it now serves more than 2 million customers in 30 states. It’s unique in that its marketing is all online—it uses no agents—and 67% of its customers are in what Asad described as the less populated areas of America. His mission in starting the company was to go where its competitors were not—which meant the less populated areas.

“We feel we’re the right fit,” with Boost and the systems and platforms that are compatible with Sprint, he told FierceWireless. “I think we could do something very good with it.”

Asad said other than Adderton, the only other known entity that might be interested in Boost is Tracfone, but he doesn’t think that will transpire for reasons related to competition in the market. Asad said his company can compete with T-Mobile’s MetroPCS prepaid brand, which is Boost’s biggest competitor.

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If the merger doesn’t go through, Asad said he plans on continuing to grow his business. Q Link employs almost 400, and the company is debt-free, he said.

Asad added if a sale does happen, he and his colleagues believe Boost could fetch $1.5 billion to $1.8 billion, and they have the financing lined up. It’s not known for certain how many subscribers would come with such an acquisition.