In Push For T-Mobile Takeover, Sprint Owner Calls U.S. Broadband Sluggish, Overpriced Sprint owner Masayoshi Son -- the richest man in Japan -- is lately making the press rounds in America to hype a potential acquisition of T-Mobile.
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Facing an uphill battle against regulators likely to rebuff a merger between the nation's third and fourth largest cell phone carriers, the Japanese billionaire who owns Sprint is making a full-court press.
Speaking at the United States Chamber of Commerce yesterday, Masayoshi Son insisted that the acquisition of T-Mobile by Sprint would ultimately improve America's wireless broadband network, which he called sluggish and overpriced.
The evening prior, in an interview with Charlie Rose, Son vowed to instigate a "massive price war" among wireless providers if indeed the acquisition were to go through.
While the government might prevent a merger on antitrust grounds, Son called the existing duopoly by AT&T and Verizon a "pseudo-competition."
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AT&T and Verizon count 110 and 103 million subscribers, respectively. Languishing far behind, Sprint and T-Mobile tally about half as many customers -- 54 million and 47 million, respectively.
Son is the chairman of SoftBank, a Japanese telecommunications conglomerate that purchased a majority stake in Sprint last year for a reported $21.6 billion.
According to The New York Times, his address to the Chamber of Commerce featured patriotic slides touting the American flag, as well as numerous references to his own professional accomplishments.
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As the richest man in Japan, Son reportedly noted that, before the dot-com bubble burst, "I was richer than Bill Gates for three days."
"We can start a small fight but it does not scale," Son said of Sprint's relatively diminutive reach. "We need to have a real fight -- a long and deep and heavy fight. And for that we need scale."
But scale hasn't stopped T-Mobile from provoking some skirmishes of its own. After dubbing itself the "un-carrier," the company offered in January to pay the early-termination fees of AT&T, Verizon and Sprint customers who quit their contracts to join the T-Mobile network.
This isn't the first time that a competing carrier has made a bid to snap up T-Mobile. In 2011, AT&T was blocked from taking over the company by the Antitrust Division of the United States Department of Justice.
Related: After Snapping Up Sprint, SoftBank Sets Sights on T-Mobile