What does Softbank’s history mean to Sprint’s future?
Bear in mind that this deal is far from done, Sprint’s shareholders need to approve the deal, as do regulators, and AT&T has already crafted a carefully worded statement regarding the resulting control of spectrum by Sprint (and its control of Clearwire) and thus Softbank after the deal closes. Sprint was a vocal opponent to AT&T’s failed attempt to buy T-Mobile USA, so one might expect that turn-about is fair play. However, it is possible that AT&T is simply setting the stage for its own plans following this merger of East-meets-West, using it as justifications for gobbling up more spectrum down the road.
In 2006, Softbank leveraged itself the hilt to buy Vodafone Japan from its UK based parent. Vodafone Japan was in a similar state that Sprint finds itself today, a distant third place, up against two established and well managed competitors (NTT DoCoMo and KDDI) who had 80% of the market. Vodafone, now Softbank, cut the cost of its monthly service plans by 75% and launched a whole new series of marketing including a popular TV commercial series of a Japanese family with a talking white dog as the father (video below).
It is not likely we will see handsets like the Fujitsu Arrows A with its 13.1MP camera in the US anytime soon.
The United States, perhaps not surprisingly, has similar consumer trends to Japan when it comes to cell phone subscribers. Mr. Son is on the record stating, “I am a man, and every man wants to be number one.” Dan Hesse will remain the head of Sprint, but Mr. Son intends to be heavily involved in Sprint’s operations and decisions about price plans, devices offered and creative advertising. Could that mean that the US might get a taste of the exotic hardware usually reserved only for Japan? Probably not right away since Softbank is a UMTS/HSPA+ carrier and Sprint operates a CDMA network (and a WiMAX network, and an iDEN network), but both carriers are adopting LTE in future rollouts, so we will say, “Never say never.”
What is certain is that if Masayoshi Son is able to successfully implement his ideas with Sprint, then it will be impossible for AT&T and Verizon to not notice.
“I am betting $20 billion that I’m going to be successful.”
source: The Wall Street Journal
1. Izzy_V (Posts: 216; Member since: 07 Jul 2012)
First, I'd like to say that I wish other PA writers could write this well. This is one of the few articles I've read in some time that I've enjoyed and provides useful information.
As for the article topic itself, I'm hoping the deal is approved and doesn't hit a bump along the road because we all know Sprint needs help. From the sound of it, Son seems to know what he's doing with Vodafone in Japan and it may help Sprint get a boost against the top 2. Above all, I'm interested in the probability of Japan's tech coming over to the U.S., and from the looks of Sprint's line-up it would be invaluable to it in the future if it did.
2. XPERIA-KNIGHT (Posts: 2375; Member since: 08 Aug 2012)
well said, it would be very interesting to see how japans tech will thrive here in the U.S .......as for me, i welcome that oportunity as long as things stay level minded this could be very interesting years coming up for the mobile world....
3. ajac09 (Posts: 1106; Member since: 30 Sep 2009)
Must agree most of there other articles feel like they are written by children.
7. fins71 (Posts: 17; Member since: 29 Oct 2012)
You might want to proofread your own comment before bashing other people. Just a thought.
5. networkdood (Posts: 4748; Member since: 31 Mar 2010)
Piece by piece America is being owned by someone else.
6. roscuthiii (Posts: 1602; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)
All too true... but, also unfortunately true is that there's no one to else blame but Americans.
8. nyamo (Posts: 273; Member since: 19 Mar 2011)
i'd be more excited about this news if sprint wasn't a cdma carrier.
9. agentoj (Posts: 93; Member since: 29 Oct 2009)
CDMA blows. Always hated it, yet only carriers I have been on are CDMA once you fulfill your contract you should be free to use the phone wherever you want.Hope LTE resolves the issue later on.
10. JBurd3 (Posts: 11; Member since: 07 Mar 2012)
HOWEVER a lot of ppl probably wouldnt even want to keep their phones for that long anyway. I have a hard time keeping one for a year. Now days by the time the ink dries on the receipt of the new phone you just bought is already outdated. BUT i understand your point though
11. agentoj (Posts: 93; Member since: 29 Oct 2009)
I still have a bunch of my old phones as "backups". But would rather let family abroad have them. Unfortunately they use gsm and are not compatible.