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
Alex Brown
Add to Briefcase
Alex Brown
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 »
AND POLICE OFFICERS IN EVERY SCHOOL
Gov. Scott Wants to Raise Gun-Purchase Age to 21
23 hours ago
THE LATEST
IN THE WAKE OF NEW CHARGES
Gates Expected to Plead Guilty, Cooperate with Mueller
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Former Trump campaign adviser Rick Gates is expected to plead guilty to a raft of new tax and fraud charges filed against him by special counsel Robert Mueller on Thursday. Gates is expected to cooperate with Mueller's investigation.

Source:
32 COUNTS
Mueller Hits Manafort, Gates with New Charges
1 days ago
THE LATEST

Robert Mueller announced new charges against former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort advisor Rick Gates. "The new indictment contains 32 counts, including tax charges." The pair had been indicted on 12 charges in October. Since then, Gates's attorneys have asked to be excused from the case.

Source:
SECOND TIME FBI FAILED TO ACT
FBI Failed To Act On Parkland Shooter Tip
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

The FBI has reported that it failed to respond to a warning from "a person close to" Nikolas Cruz, the teen accused of killing 17 people at Parkland High School on Thursday. "It was the second time the FBI apparently failed to follow up on Cruz." On the first occasion, it failed to properly investigate Cruz after it was reported to them that he left the following comment on a Youtube video: "Im going to be a school shooter."

Source:
FBI MISSED TIP ON PARKLAND SHOOTER
Florida Governor Calls on FBI Director to Resign
2 days ago
THE DETAILS

Florida Governor Rick Scott called on FBI Director Christopher Wray to resign following revelations that the FBI had failed to adequately investigate multiple warnings about Parkland High School gunman Nikolas Cruz. “The FBI’s failure to take action against this killer is unacceptable,'" said Scott. '...We constantly promote ‘see something, say something,’ and a courageous person did just that to the FBI. And the FBI failed to act.'" According to an FBI statement, the FBI failed to inform local offices of information regarding "Cruz's desire to kill people, erratic behavior, disturbing social media posts, as well as the potential of him conducting a school shooting."

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