Oct 15 AT 8:59 AM Taylor Wimberly 33 Comments

Softbank to buy 70% of Sprint, will provide services that U.S. citizens have never experienced


Early this morning Japan’s Softbank and Sprint announced they had entered into a series of definitive agreements in which Softbank will invest $20.1 billion in Sprint. They will form a new publicly traded entity, New Sprint, which Softbank will own approximately 70% and Sprint equity holders will own approximately 30% of the shares.

“Everytime I come to the U.S., I say ‘Oh my God, the mobile phone network is so slow,’” Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son said during a conference call with analysts today. “I think we can provide much better competitive technology and services that U.S. citizens have never experienced.”

Softbank is currently the number three wireless carrier in Japan, behind NTT Docomo and KDDI, but they are a global leaderer in LTE network development and deployment. If the proposed deal closes, it would provide Sprint with $8.0 billion of primary capital to enhance its mobile network and strengthen its balance sheet.

Sprint CEO, Dan Hesse, said, “This is a transformative transaction for Sprint that creates immediate value for our stockholders, while providing an opportunity to participate in the future growth of a stronger, better capitalized Sprint going forward. Our management team is excited to work with SoftBank to learn from their successful deployment of LTE in Japan as we build out our advanced LTE network, improve the customer experience and continue the turnaround of our operations.”

The deal is still subject to stockholder and regulatory approval, but the companies said they expect closing of the merger transaction to occur in mid-2013.


Source: Sprint

Taylor is the founder of Android and Me. He resides in Dallas and carries the Samsung Galaxy S 4 and HTC One as his daily devices. Ask him a question on Twitter or Google+ and he is likely to respond. | Ethics statement

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  • Vance

    Huge. That’s great for Sprint. I love his quote “Everytime I come to the U.S., I say ‘Oh my God, the mobile phone network is so slow’” haha take it easy …we have LOT more geography to cover!

    • http://droidsamurai.blogspot.com DroidSamurai

      Not only that, getting approval to build a new tower is not an easy task here as sometimes they need to get approval town by town. Making things even worse is, people would complain about their phone’s coverage, but when the carrier wants to build a tower near them, they would say no. A friend of mine lives in a town that voted against a new cell tower for 5 years even though almost everyone there complained about the near dead-zone mobile coverage — they finally approved it this year. I guess they finally have enough of it.



        • yahya lazrak

          i’m assuming you are making a joke, right :)

    • http://www.jeffkibuule.com Jeff

      That’s not really an excuse in urban areas, especially since we also have 3x the population of Japan and the SoftBank CEO himself said that we pay more for mobile services comparatively than people do in Japan. So where is our money going?

      • eallan

        “Where is our money going?”

        I think you know the answer to that: Randall Stephenson Salary – US$ 22,018,334 (2011).

        This is the same anti-comsumer asshole that said unlimited data and iMessage keep him up at night.

    • Hom0ncruse

      final nail in the coffin for Sprint

      • ozzzy3z

        Hardly. If Spirnt keeps unlimited data and improves coveage and speed I will gladly move away from Verizon now that I have to buy my phone outright to keep unlimited data.

  • LG Nexus

    Cool Story.

  • Ardrid

    Certainly a nice sales pitch, though I suspect that SoftBank will find things a bit more complicated in the US compared to Europe/Asia. That said, I’m definitely in the camp of wanting them to succeed along with T-Mobile/MetroPCS.

    • eallan

      Why do you think they’ll find things more complicated? I’m sincerely curious. How familiar are you with running a network in japan versus the US. Aside from the tired geography issue that is.

      • Ardrid

        The politics of actually running a network here, as well as the duopoly that currently exists. There’s a reason why we’re so behind the rest of the world in mobile technology/penetration, to say nothing about pricing, speed, and caps.

      • Tangent

        Aside from it being tired, is there anything to suggest the geography issue isn’t valid?

    • yankeesusa

      I’m waiting too for sprint. I will stick with them for now. As for the tmobile and metro pcs merger things just got a little more complicated for them, metro pcs shareholders or tmobile, I don’t remember which ones, are blocking the merger due to underevaluation or something like that. So it may not happen.

      • Richard Yarrell

        Great luck to Sprint and this merger hope it works out for them. As for Tmobile all this huffing and puffing from shareholders mean nothing. Tmobile and Metropcs merger will approved in MAY 2013..

        • snowbdr89

          Dam I thought you threw yourself in front of a train.

  • Dezzy

    What kind of services and technology that we’ve never seen?

    • snowbdr89

      English speaking customer service n fast web

  • ohhhh man

    so if softbank buys 70% of sprint they basically have the majority of the share of the company and if the ceo of the company wants to do sumthing he has to talk to them before it gets approved if this happens?

    • http://androidandme.com Taylor Wimberly

      Current Sprint CEO Dan Hesse will remain CEO of the New Sprint. The company will be controlled by a board of 10 directors, and I read that Sprint gets to appoint 3.

    • Ardrid

      Not necessarily. They’re simply the majority shareholder. Shareholders don’t interfere in the daily running of the company; however, being the majority shareholder gives SoftBank the ability to change board members and, by corollary, operational executives, including the CEO.

      So, in a nutshell: the CEO will only have to get approval of SoftBank for major moves if SoftBank takes over the board, which is highly likely. No one puts up that much cash for control just to remain silent.

  • redraider133

    I hope this helps sprint get on the right track and give some more competition to the big 2.

  • Nathan D.

    Didn’t see this coming

  • dave homeless

    just dont touch my unlimited data and my SERO and i will be ok, its the only reason i hang on and suffer through the horrible 3g speeds until lte comes to Los Angeles. That

    • yankeesusa

      I’m sure sero is here to stay, at least with the premium addition to it. Right now they want to keep as many customers as they can. My wife still has sero with the premium addition to it and I have to say i miss my sero plan.

      • dave homeless

        Sero customers are on a small leash, two years ago when i was up for an upgrade i called retentions, and got 70 bucks off my bill plus the max upgrade discount for the original Evo. After reading they are doing the same thing again from deal sites, i called and did the same thing a few weeks ago, they told me no statement discount; if i want to leave its my choice, that happened 3 times, maybe im unlucky or CSRs have been trained not to care too much about keeping Sero Customers.

  • NexusNYC

    Im still dropping Sprint by the end of the year so I dont care what they do. I dont think we should be selling American companies to Europe and Asia either.

  • Division by Zero

    “…invest $20.1 billion in Sprint” If they invested that much, wouldn’t they own 4337% of Sprint? I had no idea Sprint was worth that much, I thought Sprint was one of those companies you found for sale in dollar stores. In the back. Next to the dumpster.
    In all seriousness, I do hope Sprint succeeds, even though I left them ~12 years ago because they sucked. If the carriers were on somewhat equal footing, coverage and signal penetration-wise, the market would be more competetive.

    • yankeesusa

      Sprint is bad but not that bad. Just 4 or 5 years ago they were on par or better with verizon evdo speeds. I used to work for verizon and I used a sprint phone because it was still cheaper than my employee discount with verizon and faster data speeds. Then the whole apple iphone thing happened and it went way down. But even after leaving verizon I kept sprint and still have them. Yes their speeds are most of the times as slow as dialup but they have been improving lately and my monthly bill for 5 lines with unlimited everything except landline minutes I pay about $55 per line which would never be that low with att or verizon.

  • lancebukkake

    SoftBank has the worst coverage in Japan. Hopefully they’ll do better in the States than they do here.

  • Sam G

    Leaderer? Is that even a word?

  • John

    If you think mobile network in US is slow, try coming to Brazil to experience the mobile network here, it doesn’t go futher than 1Mbps, 2 on tops.