SoftBank’s Son confirms interest in T-Mobile US, promises “massive price war”

SoftBank’s Son confirms interest in T-Mobile US, threatens “massive price war”

11 MAR 2014

Masayoshi Son (pictured), chairman of Sprint, the third-largest mobile operator in the US, picked a TV interview to finally confirm his interest in a takeover of smaller rival T-Mobile US.

In excerpts from the interview with Charlie Rose, quoted by the Wall Street Journal, Son stressed no formal agreement had been struck with T-Mobile US and “steps and details” needed to be worked out.

He added, however, that a merger would help Sprint gain the scale needed to better compete with US heavyweights – Verizon Wireless and AT&T – and to have a “real fight”.

Bloomberg quoted Son as willing to start a “massive price war”.

SoftBank’s chairman admitted he didn’t know his chances of making the deal happen, but said “we have to give [it] a shot”.

T-Mobile US seems just as keen on consolidation as SoftBank.

“It is not a question of if, it is a question of when,” said Braxton Carter, T-Mobile US CFO – quoted by Reuters – when talking about the company’s prospects for consolidation

“To take a third-scale national player that has the scale benefits with the right business model could be very competitively enhancing in the US,” he added.

Son – CEO of Japan’s SoftBank, which owns nearly 80 per cent of Sprint – is expected to use his presentation today (11 March) at the Chamber of Commerce to extol the merits of having fewer market player in the US.

US anti-trust officials, however, have expressed doubt that a tie-up between Sprint and T-Mobile US would be given the green light.

Son, for his part, has accused the big two – AT&T and Verizon Wireless – of running an effective duopoly in which prices are kept artificially high and innovation is thwarted.


Ken Wieland

Ken has been part of the MWC Mobile World Daily editorial team for the last three years, and is now contributing regularly to Mobile World Live. He has been a telecoms journalist for over 15 years, which includes eight...More

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