Well it appears the mobile carrier industry has more changes on the way. According to a report by Nikkei (via Bloomberg), Softbank Corp, Japan’s third- largest mobile-phone company, is currently seeking to acquire two-thirds of U.S. based Sprint Nextel Corp. The price is rumored at roughly 1.5 trillion yen (or $19 billion) and would make AT&T the last fully US based carrier.c
This news comes courtsey of 2 individuals that are close to the discussions The individuals have asked not to be identified because the discussions are private. The Japanese company could shift the balance of power in the U.S. telecommunications industry at a tumultuous time. Softbank Corp would provide much-needed financial support for Sprint as the U.S. third-largest carrier tries to compete with bigger rivals Verizon Wireless and AT&T Inc. In addition, Sprint could provide Softbank a strong foundation for entering the U.S. market.
Wells Fargo Analyst Jennifer Fritzsche has stated that Sprint is highlighting that they can provide ” …a base for (Softbank Corp.) entering the U.S. market with a compatible carrier via its joint venture with Clearwire Corp. This has proven to garner serious interest from the Japanese company.” In addition, Fritzche wrote in her report that “Sprint represents the only way for a potential new entrant to get a national presence immediately in the U.S.”Softbank and Clearwire use airwaves in the same frequency and the same TDD LTE variant of network technology.
Founded by billionaire Masayoshi Son, Softbank entered the mobile-phone business in 2006 by paying 2 trillion yen for Vodafone Group Plc’s Japanese unit.