Sprint planning to launch 5G network by end of 2019

Posted May 13, 2017

Despite naming T-Mobile as its primary candidate as a potential merger partner, Son said that the company is "basically open to anything" and won't be limiting its options for its USA wireless unit.

Son also said, however, that he was willing to discuss other possible deals for Sprint if there were better offers.

Son failed in an attempt to merge Sprint with T-Mobile in 2014 after the plan ran into regulatory hurdles. "Our top choice remains T-Mobile".

At the time, Sprint was the No. 3 carrier by subscriber total and T-Mobile (NASDAQ: TMUS) was in the early stages of its customer-friendly reinvention as "The Un-carrier". SoftBank's numerous business including its own domestic telecoms unit, recently acquired United Kingdom chipmaker Arm as well as a vast array of investments in companies like China's Alibaba make estimating its earnings difficult.For the fourth quarter, operating profit dropped 7.2 percent on unfavourable exchange rates. T-Mobile, meanwhile, is now said to be the fastest-growing wireless carrier in the USA thanks to a combination of promotions, price cuts and social media marketing campaigns that have seen it steal customers away from both AT&T and Verizon. T-Mobile has become the main earnings and growth driver for the German parent in the past years, transforming from a unit that CEO Tim Hoettges eyed to sell to one he has called his "kingmaker asset". Yet, the talks may not interest T-Mobile anymore, he added.

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SoftBank has delivered a net profit for the financial year that came in above estimates, and announced it was teaming up with Qualcomm and Sprint to develop technologies for 5G wireless. That at least gives The Un-carrier leverage when it talks to other potential partners. That would "unlock another huge reservoir of value".

"I think the new government had made it very clear that they believe in regulating a lot less, and I think people will be open in terms of potential new transactions", Claure commented. SoftBank paid more than $20 billion to take control of Sprint in 2012 and has struggled to turn the US carrier around.

"We see tremendous opportunity in mobile 5G, massive machine type communications, and ultra-reliable and low latency communications", said Saw, "Cloud robotics, connected cars and drones, augmented and virtual reality - these are just the start of the applications that will drive new levels of innovation and progress around the world".