& cplSiteName &

SoftBank's Son Keeps Sprint on Short Leash

Sarah Thomas
1/20/2014
100%
0%

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son wants to make it clear he won't be a hands-off investor in Sprint, and more employees might be shown the door -- or choose to find it on their own -- as he restructures the carrier to become more sales-driven.

In an internal memo obtained by Light Reading, a Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) executive warned employees about changes due to be implemented during the coming months. The letter asks employees to stay focused on their work, support internal clients and colleagues, and remain frugal and cost conscious.

It reads:

    As we have all heard from [CEO Dan Hesse], our company will evolve into what can be best described as a sales-driven organizational company model. For this reason, some modifications need to be made to the current organizational structure and you will soon start to hear more about how and in what areas these changes will take place.

Hesse might be delivering the news, but the vision is clearly coming from Masayoshi Son, the driving force behind SoftBank Corp. 's acquisition of Sprint. (See Softbank Closes on Sprint Acquisition.)

He recently called on employees to join forces with "our Japanese unit and work as a single entity," and wrote in a post on the Nikkei Asian Review that he didn't want to repeat mistakes he made when running US companies Comdex and Ziff Davis, where he let American executives run those companies at their discretion.

That previous strategy was "based on my belief that Japanese owners should not interfere too much with the U.S. executives' business management," he wrote. "That belief was wrong."

Son said that by leaving American executives to their own devices he was acting as an investor and not a leader. His new plan to be hands-on means he has to sometimes yell at Sprint executives. As an example, he said he learned in a recent meeting that Sprint's advertising was not cost effective. Cue the yelling.

"This made me quite angry," he said. "Sprint spends a large amount of money on advertising every year, but its effects have been almost negligible. I directed the Sprint executives to terminate all existing contracts with the company's advertising agencies. We will shortly start from scratch on advertising, with new agents also making proposals."

The SoftBank boss clearly has big changes in mind for the struggling carrier, and that's already included big cuts. Sprint has had several rounds of layoffs related to the SoftBank takeover and also following Sprint's acquisition of Clearwire. Son said he plans to adopt the aggressive approach he did when he took over the Japanese arm of Vodafone Group plc (NYSE: VOD), which he called a "sinking ship" when he took over. (See Sprint Lays Off 800 Customer Service Reps and Sprint Axes More Clearwire Employees.)

As such, he admits he's also running the risk of forcing managers and employees to quit. At Vodafone, a third of executives left within six months. Sprint CEO Hesse, however, won't be among them as he's now on a five-year contract cycle with the company that won't come up for review before 2018. (See Sprint CEO Hesse to Stay On Through 2018.)

Son didn't go as far as to comment on the two biggest rumors circulating around Sprint -- that Softbank is planning to merge Sprint with T-Mobile US Inc. , as well as move its headquarters to California. But he made it clear Sprint will be seeing a lot more of him and the top-level Softbank execs, regardless of cultural and language barriers, as they work to reverse Sprint's status as a loser in the US. (See Report: SoftBank Preps $19B Bid for T-Mobile and Sprint: Heading to California?.)

"In the past, I would probably have told Japanese executives at SoftBank to focus on Japanese operations if their English was not at a high level," Son said. "Not anymore."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(31)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
tayloryoung723
100%
0%
tayloryoung723,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/26/2014 | 8:03:18 AM
Sprint is a Bully
I think Sprints biggest problem is how they treat thier customers. They bully them and they lie to them. Here is a whole article about it:http://mysprintexpierence.blogspot.com/2014/01/sprint-lies-and-bullies-customers.html

 

This is ridiculous and nobody should trust them in my opinion. They need to stop playing games and get their network to actually work. They only charge people $25 a month now....thats evidence that they know thier network is bad and that they are losing customers. In my opinion, Sprint is in HUGE trouble. I hope they go out of buiness quick. 
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
1/24/2014 | 10:54:50 AM
Sprint layoffs confirmed
Sprint confirmed it will be laying off people today in an SEC filing: http://www.sec.gov/Archives/edgar/data/101830/000010183014000004/a8-k20140116.htm. Didn't say how many are being cut, but it will take a $1.65 million charge for doing so.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
1/24/2014 | 10:50:24 AM
Re: Repairable ?
If rebranding is necessary, that does bode well for T-Mobile. I agree that the name has been damaged. And, it looks like Sprint isn't going to try to bring back the Nextel name for the enterprise either, as rumored. Not sure if that would've been a good thing at this point anyway.
CJBurgos83
50%
50%
CJBurgos83,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/22/2014 | 9:46:55 PM
Repairable ?
The question no longer is if Sprint has the capacity of deploying ,sustaining scalable spectrum while remaining profitable.

The real question is if the Brand is repairable by these advancement. 

My personal opinion: it's difficult to say. I think we've reached a point where rebranding is almost necessary . 

Although smaller, Tmobile has the momentum to drive that brand. I think this is what Mr Son is seeing into the future.

-8 year Sprint, Verizon Customer.
Joeynach
50%
50%
Joeynach,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/22/2014 | 11:41:48 AM
Re: Son shining on Sprint
TMobile seems to be pretty stacked with wide amounts of spectrum to deploy LTE on, even if it is within the 1700/2100 AWS block.  The fact that they started with 10x10 deployments at the core, only to expand to 15x15, and 20x20 in markets where they have the assets can not be emphasizied enough.  That makes Sprint the only carrier, that initiated their LTE build out on 10Mhz spectrum (5x5 carrier), instead of 20Mhz (10x10 carrier) like the other big three.  This little known fact is the achillies heel of Sprint's Network Vision, and something I don't think you will see CEO Dan Hesse mentioning in any article anytime soon.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
1/22/2014 | 11:28:34 AM
Re: Son shining on Sprint
Well, you're definitely more educated on spectrum bands than most consumers. :) T-Mobile is working on deploying in 10x10 -- has it in 40+ of the top major cities, and is now doing 20x20 channels, but it's still early in the upgrade.

http://www.lightreading.com/mobile/4g-lte/t-mobile-talks-up-a-banner-year-in-lte/d/d-id/706926
Joeynach
50%
50%
Joeynach,
User Rank: Light Beer
1/22/2014 | 11:22:57 AM
Re: Son shining on Sprint
Yeah I have noticed their new campaign.  Its defaintely caught my interest.  But it still requires a new user to pay $400+ for a new phone that works on TMobile's bands.  Thats again, a hefty investment to switch carriers.  I am also not sure as to the technology stack that TMobile has deployed their LTE on, I believe its also one of the higher AWS frequencies in the 1700/2100 range.  To me that is not that different from Sprint's deployment on 1900 PCS.  These high frequencies means LTE signal strength fade's much more quickly indoors and within structures. 

I have already tested Sprint's against ATT/VZW's low freq 700Mhz networks, it doesn't even compare.  Step one foot down subway stairs, into elevator well, parking garage, office building bathroom, etc and your Sprint LTE connection is gone, but your ATT/VZW is strong and pumping.  Thats the difference between high and low LTE freq. 


I would also need to learn more about the Spectrum width of TMobile's LTE, last thing you want is to switch to TMobile only to find its also been deployed on the minimum 5x5 carrier like Sprint's.  Suseptible to traffic slow downs when subscriber volume and demand rises.
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
1/22/2014 | 10:55:09 AM
Re: Son shining on Sprint
hmm So Clearwire racked up the charges for you, or someone stole your identity? Either way, hope you got your money back!
Sarah Thomas
50%
50%
Sarah Thomas,
User Rank: Blogger
1/22/2014 | 10:52:27 AM
Re: Son shining on Sprint
Well, T-Mobile will now pay any ETF, not just from AT&T switchers, so that's an option for you!
VernonDozier
50%
50%
VernonDozier,
User Rank: Lightning
1/22/2014 | 4:01:05 AM
Re: Son shining on Sprint
I don't know where to cite, but Clearwire had a network in Nevada years ago. 


I could say that by chance, I had a previous phone number owned by Clearwire, and someone at UPS Global Services called me, and left me a nasty message saying I needed to personally pay a $250,000 UPS bill.  (this actually occured)  I asked what the invoce amounts for the last ten statements were from, and where the desnation was.

They provided them between somewhere in Shenzen China to Las Vegas. 

I said "Well, I can't pay that..."  The UPS collections agent then said "I can take a corporate credit card for the minimum amount of $25,000 and we can finance the rest."  

I said "Look, I don't recognize these charges.  I'll tell you what, please serve the company with proper legal paperwork; and take it to collections.  I'll let my legal team know.  If the charges are correct, we'll pay the full amount.  However, at this time, you should probably send this account to collections, and pursue all legal options because it seems all the charges are fraudulent.  I'm not going to perform business with UPS ever again!"

I'm sure John Stanton really enjoyed that.  He was douche #2 at McCaw Cellular (AT&T).
Page 1 / 4   >   >>
From The Founder
The independent evaluation of Nokia's key virtual network functions (VNFs) was a defining moment for the Finnish giant.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP’s Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it’s going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Custom TV
Cisco's Innovations in Cable

5|26|16   |   03:18   |   (0) comments


Marc Aldrich from Cisco discusses the latest in security, the evolution and momentum for CCAP and what the industry will be seeing next from Cisco.
LRTV Documentaries
Leading Lights 2016 Highlights

5|25|16   |   02:26   |   (1) comment


Some of the high points from this year's Leading Lights awards dinner at the Hotel Ella in Austin, Texas.
LRTV Documentaries
Light Reading Hall of Fame 2016

5|23|16   |   05:43   |   (0) comments


Find out who has been welcomed into Light Reading's Hall of Fame this year.
LRTV Custom TV
ZTE TM Forum Highlights

5|23|16   |     |   (0) comments


ZTE showcased its new ICT solutions at TM Forum in Nice.
LRTV Interviews
Gamma's MD on the Emergence of UC2

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


Gamma Communications Managing Director David Macfarlane believes the unified communications (UC) market has reached a tipping point.
LRTV Custom TV
The Ultimate 5-Minute Guide to Digital Customer Engagement

5|20|16   |     |   (0) comments


In this short video, you will hear all about how Digital Customer Engagement is the key to meeting customer expectations, keeping them happy, and maximizing revenue. VP Product & Marketing at Pontis, Ofer Razon, breaks down for us the five essential capabilities for successful Digital Customer Engagement. Don’t miss!
LRTV Custom TV
NFV in 2016: Part 1 – NFV Use Cases Get Real

5|19|16   |   05:57   |   (0) comments


Consensus is building around the key use cases for NFV, including managed IP services at the network edge and on customer premises, which can generate new revenues from enterprises/SMBs and consumers; Evolved Packet Core to support LTE migration; and adjacent technologies, such as TAS and IMS, to support VoLTE and next-generation charging and policy control ...
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 3

5|19|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang discusses the challenges of operational transformation and how Nokia helps its customers. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Level 3: Why UC Is In Demand

5|17|16   |   04:12   |   (1) comment


Andrew Edison, Level 3's senior VP of sales, EMEA region, talks about the drivers of growth in the unified communications services market.
LRTV Custom TV
ARM's OPNFV Action

5|17|16   |     |   (0) comments


At the ARM booth at MWC 2016, Joe Kidder and Bob Monkman speak to Light Reading about OPNFV and their upcoming action.
LRTV Custom TV
Nokia's Steve Vogelsang on NFV – Part 2

5|16|16   |     |   (0) comments


Steve Vogelsang gives advice to service providers on how to move to NFV. Join Steve at the Big Communications Event in Austin the morning of May 24, on his keynote and optical networking panel.
LRTV Interviews
Interoute CTO on NFV's Maturity

5|13|16   |   06:46   |   (1) comment


Matt Finnie, CTO at international operator Interoute, explains how NFV has made life easier in terms of logistics and how Interoute can now enable a 'software-defined moment' for its customers.
Upcoming Live Events
September 13-14, 2016, The Curtis Hotel, Denver, CO
December 6-8, 2016,
June 16-18, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
A new survey conducted by Heavy Reading and TM Forum shows that CSPs around the world see the move to digital operations as a necessary part of their overall virtualization strategies.
Hot Topics
DT: Telcos Must Escape Vendor Prison
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/24/2016
AT&T to Start 5G 'Friendly' Trial by 2016 End
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 5/24/2016
Cisco's Patel Hails 'Microculture' Successes
Iain Morris, News Editor, 5/26/2016
Cable Is Eyeing Its Retail Options
Mari Silbey, Senior Editor, Cable/Video, 5/25/2016
AT&T's Margaret Chiosi Retires
Ray Le Maistre, Editor-in-chief, 5/25/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
In this latest installment of the CEO Chat series, Craig Labovitz, co-founder and CEO of Deepfield, sits down with Light Reading's Steve Saunders in Light Reading's New York City office to discuss how Deepfield fits in with the big data trend and more.
Grant van Rooyen, president and CEO of Cologix, sits down with Steve Saunders, founder and CEO of Light Reading, in the vendor's New Jersey facility to offer an inside look at the company's success story and discuss the importance of security in the telecom industry.
Animals with Phones
Live Digital Audio

Our world has evolved through innovation from the Industrial Revolution of the 1740s to the information age, and it is now entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution, driven by technology. Technology is driving a paradigm shift in the way digital solutions deliver a connected world, changing the way we live, communicate and provide solutions. It can have a powerful impact on how we tackle some of the world’s most pressing problems. In this radio show, Caroline Dowling, President of Communications Infrastructure & Enterprise Computing at Flex, will join Women in Comms Director Sarah Thomas to discuss the impact technology has on society and how it can be a game-changer across the globe; improving lives and creating a smarter world. Dowling, a Cork, Ireland, native and graduate of Harvard Business School's Advanced Management Program, will also discuss her experience managing an international team focused on innovation in an age of high-speed change.