Wed, Mar 12, 2014 - Page 15 News List

Sprint’s Japanese owner planning US telecoms price war

AFP, WASHINGTON

The Japanese owner of US mobile carrier Sprint Nextel Corp said on Monday that he wanted to launch a “price war” with the two major carriers as he seeks to acquire T-Mobile’s US unit.

Masayoshi Son, the tycoon whose Softbank Corp holds a controling stake in Sprint, confirmed his reported interest in T-Mobile US Inc, whose parent company is Germany’s Deutsche Telekom AG, in an interview on US public TV.

Son, while declining to discuss details, said that he wanted to go head-to-head and undercut US giants AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc, replicating his aggressive strategy of sacrificing short-term profit, while pursuing a greater market share.

“I would like to have the real fight, not the pseudo-fight,” Son told The Charlie Rose Show.

“If I can have the real fight, I go in a more massive price war,” he said. “I want to be No. 1. So if we are No. 3, and if we have enough chance, I want to be No. 1. So I would go to price competition, very much aggressively.”

Sprint, the third-ranking US carrier, closed a deal in July last year that gave Softbank a controling stake for US$21.6 billion — the largest overseas acquisition ever by a Japanese company.

Any such deal would be expected to face close scrutiny by US regulators in charge of ensuring competition. AT&T in 2011 sought to buy T-Mobile for US$39 billion, but backed down in the face of regulatory opposition.

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