Sprint’s Son attacks “duopoly taking over America”

Sprint’s Son attacks “duopoly taking over America”

28 MAR 2014

Masayoshi Son (pictured), chairman of Sprint, used a speech at CCA 2014 for a withering critique of AT&T and Verizon Wireless, while offering the hand of partnership to their smaller, rural rivals.

Speaking to members of the Competitive Carriers Association, which represents rural operators, Son said the country’s big two operators are “taking over”, pointing to statistics that showed how five years ago AT&T/Verizon held 56 per cent of postpaid users but today that share had rocketed to 73 per cent.

“The next five years who knows where market share will be but I would say this concentration will grow,” said Son, CEO of Japan’s SoftBank, which owns nearly 80 per cent of US number three Sprint

He also argued that the big two are hogging the industry’s profitability with an increase in Ebitda share from 67 per cent in 2008 to 84 per cent in 2013.

As an alternative to the duo’s growing hegemony, Son proposed a roaming alliance between Sprint and rural carriers who share a complementary geographic footprint.

Sprint had developed a system that enabled roaming relationships to be set up in a simplified way. A new data hub means multilateral deals can be struck rather than relying on slower one-to-one negotiations.

In addition, Son pledged to support “financially and systemically” the rollout of LTE by rural operators. He also said he could boost their access to the latest 4G devices, a constant source of complaint for smaller players.

“Let’s fight back,” he concluded his presentation, looking for affinity between hard-pressed rural operators and Sprint.

However Son has also argued in favour of greater consolidation in the US according to some reports, which of course would concentrate market power. Sprint has been linked to a bid for nearest rival T-Mobile US, a takeover that would narrow the gap to the market leaders.

In an interview with Reuters, Son said Sprint is also in talks with Dish Network, the satellite TV broadcaster, about developing a fixed-wireless broadband partnership.

Sprint has previously said the two are working on a trial service in Texas and Son’s comments indicate that work is still ongoing.


Richard Handford

Richard is the editor of Mobile World Live’s money channel and a contributor to the daily news service. He is an experienced technology and business journalist who previously worked as a freelancer for many publications over the last decade including...

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