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Sprint Woes Weigh on SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son

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Aug 12, 2015, 8:50 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

SoftBank's plans for Sprint have not unfolded as CEO Masayoshi Son hoped. Son initially believed a merger with competitor T-Mobile would serve the carrier, but was dismayed when U.S. antitrust regulators shot the idea down. "I was thinking to myself: 'I made one of the biggest mistakes in my life,' which was the misjudgment of the U.S. regulatory environment," said Son. SoftBank closed its equity stake in Sprint just two years ago, and the company has already considered selling Sprint to Comcast in the U.S. or Altice in Europe, according to the Wall Street Journal. Son's plan to sell Sprint went nowhere. Son also considered writing off the acquisition as a total loss. Now, SoftBank is facing the costly prospect of improving Sprint's network to entice back customers it has lost to rivals over the years. Sprint plans to install tens of thousands of small cells to improve the density of its network around the country, but is burning cash at an alarming rate and may go broke by mid 2016 if it doesn't reduce expenditures. For legal reasons, SoftBank's hands are tied; it cannot invest too much more money in Sprint's turnaround. It is considering forming two stand-alone entities to help finance Sprint's network and handset-leasing expenses to keep debt off Sprint's balance sheet. Son replaced Sprint CEO Dan Hesse a year ago with Marcelo Claure, who has made some progress in retaining customers, but the carrier still has a long way to go. It recently fell behind T-Mobile, which now stands as the country's third-largest carrier, behind AT&T and Verizon. Masayoshi Son and Claure hope the network densification plan and more consumer-friendly service plans will help put the carrier on a more positive track.


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Aug 12, 2015, 2:09 PM

Stop Blaming

Mr. Son, stop blaming the US Regulatory agencies and everyone else for failures in Sprint. Either put up or shut up. Its a failing network. And I find no joy in this. If the US regulatory agencies wants to keep 4 nationwide carries, so be it. This was well known before Softbank made their investment.
Your last statement it's so freaking true

Aug 12, 2015, 5:49 PM


Maybe if Sprint weren't such A-holes they'd have more customers. Doing stuff like locking down phones or blacklisting them on collection accounts so people can't sell them to other people to use. They don't want customers I guess.

Aug 12, 2015, 11:10 AM

And people complain about Sprint now....

Just imagine if they got bought by comcast.
If that happens I foresee them running it into the ground as number four until they've devalued so much and lost so many customers the feds will let them sell the scraps to verizon.
I hate Sprint so much and no apologies were ever made to me regarding crap service, lack of customer care, and continued arrogance from them and the "just be patient" line for years while stealing my money for services not rendered at all sometimes fo...
As much as I am no fan of Comcast, they'd probably be far better off, they'd invest more in its system, package it with their cable division, which would bring in more customers and with that cash. Softbank and to a lessor extent DT care far more for...
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