Son says U.S. carriers need to increase LTE speeds and lower the price

Son says U.S. carriers need to increase LTE speeds and lower the price
On Tuesday, SoftBank Chairman Masayoshi Son said that he would eventually deliver 200Mbps speeds to Sprint customers in the U.S. As we mentioned on Monday, Son told Charlie Rose during a televised interview that he would start a "price war" in the states after combining SoftBank owned Sprint with its rumored target of T-Mobile. Son also hosted a luncheon in Washington D.C. on Tuesday at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

During his speech on Tuesday, the executive said that the U.S. is falling behind when it comes to the mobile internet. Citing a recent report from OpenSignal, LTE speeds in the U.S. are some of the slowest around the globe. The report from OpenSignal showed that the average LTE download speed in the U.S. is 6.5 Mbps, which is slower than all countries except for the Philippines' 5.3 Mbps tally. To show how far behind the U.S. is, the fastest LTE speeds belong to Australia with a download average of 24.5Mbps.

OpenSignal stated that U.S. LTE speeds are dragged down by exceptionally slower carriers like MetroPCS, which was acquired by T-Mobile last year. In addition, congestion on U.S. LTE pipelines has also slowed down speeds. Son pointed out that Americans are paying more to use less LTE-flavored data. He noted that while the average Japanese consumer spends $30 a month and uses 1.5GB of data,  the average American spends $52 a month to use a smaller amount of data, 1GB. What the OpenSignal report fails to take into account, according to an OECD study, is that smartphones and handsets are cheaper in the states than in Japan in 10 out of 11 service plans it studied. Son states that fixing the problem in the U.S. just requires the carriers to offer faster data speeds at a lower price.

While Sprint's LTE service is considered the slowest in the states according to a recent RootMetrics report, Son promised that things would change once the carrier expanded its Sprint Spark service. The tri-band LTE service provides speeds as fast as 150 to 180 Mbps, and even that figure pales next to the 200Mbps figure that Son mentioned on his goal for wireless speed into the home. That compares to the top speed of about 36 Mbps that cable firms peak at.

The SoftBank executive considers it an obligation as one of the players in the states "to provide a solution, not criticize the situation."

source: FierceWireless via OpenSignal



1. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I'm getting 35+ in Chicago at any given time of the day, which is 7-8mbps faster than my wifi at home with Comcast. Verizon is stepping their game up and providing more bandwidth to users, dramatically increasing the speeds. LTE should be cheaper and more widespread in the US though.

7. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

:-/ I got 2 Mbps downloads on Sprints LTE network and I had zero connection all together in Waikiki and Disneyland. I'll believe it when I see it.

12. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

I have T-Mobile lol.

43. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

Wow!!! That is slow, too slow. With Verizon average are, down 26.36 and up 6.53. However, I have had better result in the past e.g. Down 41.40 and up 6.83, both with the 5S. I noticed with my G2(gone) and Moto X results we're substantially slower.

21. AstronautJones

Posts: 305; Member since: Aug 01, 2012

ATT gives me 20+ in Indy area. Usually get good speeds in major areas when I travel too. still agree with the need for cheaper data though.

2. ZeroCide

Posts: 816; Member since: Jan 09, 2013

I like what he is saying. Hopefully that will happen with Sprint Spark.

3. dgjr7

Posts: 8; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

I'm starting to like Mr. Son.

4. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

Talk is cheap mr Son, prove it...... once can do that then we will support you.

14. bakogeek

Posts: 4; Member since: Mar 03, 2013

He delivered on his promises in Japan to deliver 97% coverage. I think Son has a strong vision and drive and is not a CEO trying to boost sales with false promises. I think Sprint stands a chance with Softbank's backing and vision to become a major competitor.

39. JEverettnow

Posts: 228; Member since: Mar 11, 2013

Japan is a lot smaller than the US.

5. techperson211

Posts: 1280; Member since: Feb 27, 2014

One of the good attitude by japanese is they honor their words . So I'm betting he is dead serious about this.

13. cncrim

Posts: 1588; Member since: Aug 15, 2011

How much do you know about japanese culture? Yep majority of them but, not all. Just because America is melting pot of every culture and we are country with law and every need to be on paper that doesnt mean we are less faithful with our words. JUST DEPEND who you deal with. best best to be on safe than sorry, show me what you can than I will reware you.

16. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

"every need to be on paper that doesnt mean we are less faithful with our words." I'm pretty sure you've heard of slimeball salesman and con-artist right? Pretty much every experience I've had with Sprint has been in concert with those words. It kept almost seeming like "Bait and Switch" but there's been no switch. From the beginning its been "Bait and lies"

36. mrfwy

Posts: 20; Member since: Feb 17, 2012

Yes Japanese look after their own, pretty tight society. Can't compete in their markets as same as in South Korea. The good thing is they are changing and are driving the world better after the earthquake tragedy. I think Softbank should be given a chance to use Sprint to rejuvenate the telecommuncations industry in USA. What do you think?

6. Augustine

Posts: 1043; Member since: Sep 28, 2013

He's had some time commanding Sprint, yet he's done nothing of the sort that he said he would. On the contrary, Sprint provides the least value of all major carriers in the US. Why would Son get religion only after acquiring T-mobile? Or is it just a speech to goose up the FTC and the DOJ?

8. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009


10. lsutigers

Posts: 832; Member since: Mar 08, 2009

Sprint is a 55 million customer behemoth. Give it time. Their current LTE is plenty fast where I travel but things are definitely moving in the right direction.

15. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

'The SoftBank executive considers it an obligation as one of the players in the states "to provide a solution, not criticize the situation." ' So Son just copied one of John Legeres quotes.... How original... Except T-Mobile is doing everything in their power to not suck. Sprint is fine with dragging their feet and making empty promises. I was a customer of theirs for 11 years I've seen many empty promises and I've had plenty of years of let downs. Have fun with your horrible network.

23. TheRequiem

Posts: 245; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

You obviously don't know what your talking about... Get out of here

9. iLoveAmexica

Posts: 47; Member since: Dec 18, 2013

Goku is that you?!

11. sipha

Posts: 440; Member since: May 12, 2012

Yho0o, $52 for 1.5GB in the USA?? Why is it so expensive?? In south africa i pay like $7 a month for 1GB, & the speed is 8.4MBs..

17. wkm001

Posts: 145; Member since: Feb 04, 2014

I don't have a need for 200Mbps at home on my desktop computer. I sure as heck don't need that on my phone.

25. a_merryman

Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

I could definitely use that at home, but I would prefer to get a wired connection that fast since it doesn't get slowed down as easily, and it seems like a poor use of wireless spectrum in the suburbs and cities (I can see this being a great option for rural areas though). The point of the 200 Mbps is so that the users don't slow down the network to a crawl and so you can maintain unlimited data for customers while ensuring usable speed. Remember, you have to share that cell site with other people.

18. Doakie

Posts: 2478; Member since: May 06, 2009

I'm sorry to everyone who reads my multiple negative posts on this one article. I feel its my duty to make people aware of my horrible experience with Sprint's network. As a long time(11 year) customer, I loved Sprint. Then it dawned on me that it was like I was in a relationship with a liar and a thief. Either Sprint has not enough bandwidth to improve their network in Seattle or they've sold me about 6 phones in a row that all had antenna issues. From my experience which I've been able to corroborate with my wife's phones and about 5 friends who I convinced to join Sprint 4 years ago; Sprints 3G network gets around 50-200 Kbps most days, some days you can get 500 Kbps on their 3G. 3G is what you're on about 99% of the time in Seattle, and the 1% of the time you see LTE it tops out at 2Mbps. I went to Waikiki and Disneyland and neither location even had a working 3G Sprint network let alone LTE. Beware of Sprint. Their network is crap in multiple locations, not just Seattle... Either way their 3G network has become so slow I needed to get internet at home just to browse the internet on my phone, back in the days of their WIMAX network it wasn't this bad. I used to get 1.2 Mbps on 3G and 10 Mbps on WiMAX. Once they stopped selling WiMAX phones their 3G network can't handle all these phones not having an LTE network to ride on. The last straw was when they insisted I pay $130 for an Airrave to improve voice calls in my house which rides on my home internet. So I was paying $220+tax a month for 5 lines, $50 a month for internet because Sprints data network sucks, and then they expected me to pay $130 to improve their voice network and run it through my internet that I have to pay for because they're network sucks in the first place? No thanks. It felt wrong giving them another dime. So we ended up being down approximately $300 in ETF fees after we sold the 5 phones on Craigslist. Either way I'm never even considering Sprint again and I will never recommend their service again. I gave them an 11 year chance. Now my 5 friends who were on Sprint too have now moved on to T-Mobile and they're all happy with their 25 Mbps data speeds now. Me, I ended up on AT&T because I want a GREAT network for when I travel. Sorry Sprint I've grown wise to your empty promises.

24. TheRequiem

Posts: 245; Member since: Mar 23, 2012

Not everyone shares your experience, which sounds incredibly biased and unrealistic... Btw, how would know what's going on now of your another carrier? I've had nothing but an amazing experience with Sprint. T mobile is a joke, all my friends on tmobile have to use my phones hotspot because they never get any coverage, get real

26. a_merryman

Posts: 749; Member since: Dec 14, 2011

Yeah, I also have had a great experience on Sprint..

29. PapaSmurf

Posts: 10457; Member since: May 14, 2012

It's actually the opposite with me lol...

19. aditya.k

Posts: 496; Member since: Mar 10, 2013

I think we get 8 Mbps here in India on 3G. So does that mean we'll get better speeds on 4G? :/

20. Edward_bly

Posts: 278; Member since: Dec 11, 2013

Someone give this man a cookie!

22. mike2959

Posts: 696; Member since: Oct 08, 2011

What I don't understand is how so many people continue to drink the koolaid of the major carriers in the US. This article is spot on. Sprint and TMO are a joke, have been and continue to be. All Dan Hesse has done is piece meal a network together. It's really the result of the wonderful FCC. That's why we are last. That's why we pay to much. That's why coverage is a joke.

Latest Stories

This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. You can order presentation-ready copies for distribution to your colleagues, clients or customers at or use the Reprints & Permissions tool that appears at the bottom of each web page. Visit for samples and additional information.