Sprint exec vows a revolution if Feds let him have T-Mobile

By Lindsay Wise / McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON — The new chairman of Sprint Corp. says that if the U.S. government will let him take over T-Mobile, he’ll declare a price war that would revolutionize the American mobile market in the same way he overturned Japan’s.

Masayoshi Son promises faster Internet service and lower prices in return for a little regulatory flexibility.

Son heads the Japanese company SoftBank Corp., which bought Kansas-based Sprint last year for $21.6 billion. Now Son wants Sprint to take over smaller rival T-Mobile USA Inc.

Known as a blunt and sharp-elbowed maverick, the 56-year-old Tokyo businessman is on a mission to revitalize Sprint, which has been losing subscribers as T-Mobile has been adding them. He recently told a Japanese publication that the company needs “a change in mindset” and that he “sometimes yells at Sprint executives.”

It’s clear from a speech and interview this week in Washington that Son thinks a bid for T-Mobile is key to his ambitious plans for Sprint’s future.

Although Sprint opposed AT&T’s takeover of T-Mobile on antitrust grounds in 2011, Son now justifies Sprint’s own potential takeover of T-Mobile by saying that the two companies combined would have enough heft to compete with the industry’s top dogs, Verizon and AT&T.