SoftBank CEO Itching for ‘Heavyweight Fight’

Masayoshi Son said a Sprint-T-Mobile merger could compete with Verizon and AT&T — and benefit consumers.

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son.
National Journal
March 11, 2014, 11:46 a.m.

In his first speech be­fore a U.S. audi­ence, Soft­Bank CEO Masay­oshi Son ap­pealed to Amer­ic­an ex­cep­tion­al­ism to make the case for his Sprint’s much-dis­cussed plan to pur­chase T-Mo­bile.

“How can the Amer­ic­an people ac­cept the fact that it is No. 15 in the most im­port­ant in­form­a­tion high­way in the next cen­tury?” Son asked his audi­ence at the U.S. Cham­ber of Com­merce, re­fer­ring to the mo­bile broad­band speed rank­ing for the United States.

His solu­tion? An­oth­er jug­ger­naut to chal­lenge Ve­r­i­zon and AT&T, build in­fra­struc­ture, and drive down prices. Son didn’t ex­pli­citly men­tion T-Mo­bile dur­ing his speech, but he told re­port­ers after the event that Soft­Bank has not yet de­cided to pur­chase the com­pany.

He hopes to meet again with the U.S. reg­u­lat­ors who would have to ap­prove the mer­ger. After earli­er meet­ings, the Fed­er­al Com­mu­nic­a­tions Com­mis­sion and the Justice De­part­ment raised an­ti­trust con­cerns, fear­ing that a mar­ket with few­er car­ri­ers would de­crease com­pet­i­tion. Justice an­ti­trust head Bill Baer has said he prefers a four-car­ri­er mar­ket­place, and FCC Chair­man Tom Wheel­er has ex­pressed skep­ti­cism about the mer­ger.

Son, who Monday vowed a “price war” if his com­pany is able to pur­chase T-Mo­bile, said the mer­ger would give him the size he needs to be a real com­pet­it­or — and to help U.S. con­sumers. “We need scale to have a real fight,” Son told re­port­ers. “We need a real heavy­weight fight.”

In his speech, he ref­er­enced Soft­Bank’s ini­tial for­ay in­to the Ja­pan­ese broad­band mar­ket, which “broke the price wall” but ini­tially cost his com­pany bil­lions. That same ap­proach, he said, could be a boon to U.S. con­sumers if Sprint ac­quires the re­sources to com­pete. “I’d like to be a third al­tern­at­ive with 10 times the speed and lower the price and change the U.S. situ­ation as I did in Ja­pan,” Son said.

U.S. phone users may not real­ize that their speeds are ac­tu­ally slow­ing, Son said, com­par­ing them to cit­izens in Beijing who be­come so used to smog, they for­get there was once clear air. “You have to re­mem­ber the blue sky,” he said.

Ed­it­or’s Note: Na­tion­al Journ­al Pres­id­ent Bruce Got­tlieb, who is leav­ing the com­pany to be­come an ex­ec­ut­ive vice pres­id­ent with Soft­bank Inc., played no role in this art­icle and has re­cused him­self from any dis­cus­sions of Na­tion­al Journ­al‘s tele­com­mu­nic­a­tions cov­er­age.

What We're Following See More »
MISSISSIPPI RUNOFF IS ALL THAT REMAINS
Nelson Concedes as Scott Takes Florida Senate Seat
8 hours ago
THE LATEST

"Democratic Sen. Bill Nelson has conceded Florida’s Senate race to his Republican opponent Gov. Rick Scott following a hand recount. ...While there is a run-off still to come in Mississippi, the Scott win makes it most likely the Senate Republicans will hold a 53-47 majority in the 116th Congress."

Source:
BUT NOT SUBMITTED THEM
Trump Says He's Completed Answers to Mueller's Questions
2 days ago
THE LATEST
BUT DESANTIS APPEARS TO HAVE LOCKED UP GOVERNOR'S RACE
Florida Senate Race Heads to Hand Recount
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"Following a five-day machine recount of the more than 8.3 million votes cast in the Nov. 6 election, Secretary of State Ken Detzner ordered hand recounts Thursday afternoon in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Bill Nelson and Gov. Rick Scott." Meanwhile, the "race for governor, which also went through a machine recount, was outside the margins that trigger a manual recount as new tallies came in, making Republican former congressman Ron DeSantis the governor-elect a full nine days after Democrat Andrew Gillum first conceded."

Source:
ORANGE COUNTY IS NOW TOTALLY BLUE
Mimi Walters Is the Latest GOP Incumbent to Go Down
2 days ago
THE LATEST

"In another blow to California Republicans reeling from defeats in the Nov. 6 election, Democrat Katie Porter has ousted GOP Rep. Mimi Walters in an upscale Orange County congressional district that was a longtime conservative bastion." Every district within the county is now held by a Democrat.

Source:
POLIQUIN STILL CHALLENGING RANKED-CHOICE VOTING
Poliquin Loses in Maine's 2nd District
3 days ago
THE LATEST

"Democrat Jared Golden has defeated Maine Rep. Bruce Poliquin in the nation’s first use of ranked-choice voting for a congressional race, according to state election officials. The Democrat won just over 50 percent of the vote in round one of ranked-choice voting, meaning he’ll be the next congressman from the 2nd District unless Poliquin’s legal challenges to the voting system prevail. A Golden win in the 2nd District, which President Donald Trump carried in 2016, mean Democrats have picked up 35 seats in the House."

Source:
×
×

Welcome to National Journal!

You are currently accessing National Journal from IP access. Please login to access this feature. If you have any questions, please contact your Dedicated Advisor.

Login