Light Reading

Son: Dish Could Be Sprint's Great Ally

Sarah Thomas
3/27/2014
50%
50%

SAN ANTONIO -- CCA Global Expo -- Dish Network, the thorn in SoftBank's side when it was trying to acquire Sprint, could now be the carrier's biggest ally, according to Sprint's new chairman. (See Dish Throws in the Towel on Sprint Buy.)

Addressing reporters after his keynote address to the Competitive Carriers Association (CCA) crowd here on Thursday morning, SoftBank Corp. CEO Masayoshi Son said that Dish Network LLC (Nasdaq: DISH) could be Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S)'s biggest ally in the carrier's fight against the duopoly of AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and Verizon Wireless .

"I'd like to partner with Dish in many possible ways," he told reporters. "We are specifically discussing all kinds of alliances and starting a test of technology. They can be our great ally."

Sprint and Dish are already working together on a fixed wireless broadband trial in Corpus Christi, Texas, where Son says it's achieving speeds of up to 200 Mbit/s. He said the pair are doing some testing, but they're also looking at a technology alliance that combines Dish's satellite business with Sprint's LTE network. (See Dish Taps Sprint for 4G Trial in Texas.)

Partnerships like this, and the one it has forged with the CCA's 100 rural carriers, are necessary to stand up to the big two. That was the message of Son's keynote address, but his time chatting with reporters after was spent defending why a merger with a "not specifically named carrier" (aka T-Mobile US Inc. ) was necessary to turn a "pseudo fight" into a "real fight." (See Sprint Joins Forces With Rural America on LTE and Report: SoftBank Preps $19B Bid for T-Mobile.)

"We need even deeper scale to fight back," Son said. "Otherwise, if you are cornered and fighting along by yourself, it's not enough power to fight back. In order to fight back, we cannot be status quo. We have to change the situation, so it's not really four players becoming three. It's two players dominating the market, and we have to fight back."

Son Meet & Greet
Softbank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son addresses reporters about fighting the good fight against AT&T and Verizon after his keynote address at the CCA Expo.
Softbank Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son addresses reporters about fighting the good fight against AT&T and Verizon after his keynote address at the CCA Expo.

He pointed to a GSM Association (GSMA) statistic that AT&T and Verizon had a combined 56% share of the US postpaid mobile market five years ago, a number that has since grown to 73% and will continue to grow if unchecked.

When asked if he's making progress in Washington DC in convincing regulators the merger is good for competition, he quipped, "you have a better understanding," but noted that his goal is to continue to increase understanding. It may seem like basic math: four carriers minus one equals three, but Son said it's not a simple number four. It's an uneven fight; heavyweights versus weaklings. Even coupling Sprint with 100 carriers, as its new Data Roaming Hub does, isn't enough, Son claimed.

"In order to have a sustainable long-term fight, we need scale and efficiency," he said. "Sprint will survive. Survival is not the issue. Can anyone other than those big two have a real fighting situation? Without size it's not a real fight."

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

(10)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
DOShea
50%
50%
DOShea,
User Rank: Blogger
3/31/2014 | 10:16:36 PM
Dish
All his talk about Dish sounds pretty vague. I get the ongoing technology trial is something, but I think he is trying to act like the potential distruptor everyone believes him to be.
Bill Van
50%
50%
Bill Van,
User Rank: Moderator
3/28/2014 | 12:20:01 AM
Re: T-Who?
Can Softbank's superstar do what he has done in Japan and in Asia be duplicated in the U.S?   Keep watching Son as he is on track to be a major disruptor in the US big time. i.e Mark Cuban...John Malone 
Mitch Wagner
50%
50%
Mitch Wagner,
User Rank: Lightning
3/27/2014 | 5:56:06 PM
Former enemies
As the Klingon proverb notes: The enemy of my enemy is my friend. 
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 5:35:50 PM
Re: T-Who?
I just think if Sprint buys T-Mobile they'll go out of their way to be more like AT&T and Verizon, not less. Your behavior is dictated by competitive pressure, and there's just no debating that killing off one of the four big carriers would generate less.

So many promises surrounding consolidation that never, ever materialize. Sprint hasn't even been able to show they can run a competent next-gen network yet. Maybe focus on that before looking at further M&A opportunities?

That said, I'm not sure T-Mobile would fare much better under Ergen control.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 5:26:14 PM
Re: T-Who?
Yeah, and Son brought that up several times, but just kept saying it's not enough. It's not "real competition." He also promised to show us what a real price war looks like if the acqusition happens. I highly doubt that, but there's definitel room to go lower.
KBode
50%
50%
KBode,
User Rank: Light Sabre
3/27/2014 | 5:24:26 PM
Re: T-Who?
Still seems so very unlikely that regulators are going to let Sprint acquire T-Mobile at a time when T-Mo's being so damn disruptive on consumer policies. It's far more likely a Dish acquisition of T-Mobile gets the regulatory nod...will Son, Sprint and SoftBank be BFFs with Ergen if or when that happens?
billho888
50%
50%
billho888,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/27/2014 | 3:57:07 PM
Re: T-Mo Announcement
I think it's a matter of timing. If the 700 A Blocks were in hand during this conference, they would have joined the announcement. If the deal wasn't done & they only have the MetroPCS 'Boston' market, it's not as impactful. But it's logical - wholesale roaming growth opportunity for T-Mobile.
SarahReedy
50%
50%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 3:06:36 PM
Re: T-Who?
Good point, Bill. It definitely seemed like when, not if, about T-Mobile joining. I am surprised it hasn't already, but I know they wanted to make this announcement at the show either way.
billho888
50%
50%
billho888,
User Rank: Light Beer
3/27/2014 | 2:39:18 PM
Re: T-Who?
If and when T-Mobile joins the CCA Data Acess Hub (after getting VZW's 21 licenses for 700 Block A in hand), there will be more commonalities and formal avenues of collaboration. Beyond VZW's A Blocks, TMo still needs to round out top 30 markets from ATT (Chicago), Columbia Capital & others. 
SarahReedy
100%
0%
SarahReedy,
User Rank: Blogger
3/27/2014 | 1:25:54 PM
T-Who?
Son was a really good speaker. I've never heard a CEO comment so much on something he "can't comment" on. Rather than stay mum, he just kept referring to T-Mobile, but saying "not speaking specifically" or "not naming specific companies." So, guys, who do you think he wants Sprint to merge with? Could be anyone!
Flash Poll
From The Founder
The New IP is actually bigger even than business. Like another hugely important tech that Light Reading is digging into right now, the New IP has the potential to change the world by fundamentally advancing what it is possible for people to achieve with communications.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei Shares Its Vision of the Future of Mobile Networks Innovations

2|26|15   |   2:30   |   (0) comments


Mobile broadband is changing our lives. It's reshaping the Internet, industry, and society. It allows us to freely connect with one another anytime, anywhere. At this year's Mobile World Congress, Huawei will share its latest insights and newest ideas and technologies that will shape the future of MBB. They will showcase their end-to-end MBB solutions that will ...
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Accelerate Digitizing, Boost Digital Business

2|26|15   |   6:14   |   (0) comments


A new digital revolution is leading us to a better connected world. Together with millions of digital partners, Huawei will help CSPs to build their digital service ecosystem and aggregate a wide variety of digital services. In this video, we find out how Huawei is going to help CSPs implement digital operations.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
The Secret Recipe to Enabling Hyper-Growth Industries

2|26|15   |   3:38   |   (0) comments


With a number of successful cases on network capability exposure, Huawei is going to share the secret recipe to enabling hyper-growth markets with a step-by-step approach.
LRTV Documentaries
BTE 2015 Is Bigger & Even Better

2|25|15   |   03:13   |   (4) comments


This year's Big Telecom Event (BTE) in Chicago is going to provide more opportunities than ever for networking, getting to grips with key industry challenges and opportunities and, equally as important, having some fun.
LRTV Interviews
Light Reading ICT Leaders Roundtable at MWC 2015

2|12|15   |   1:07   |   (2) comments


On Sunday March 1, 2015, Light Reading will host an ICT Leaders Roundtable in partnership with Huawei. At this half-day event, CIOs, analysts and researchers will discuss key industry trends like virtualization in the cloud with a specific focus on new business models. Located at the luxurious Renaissance Hotel near the Fira Barcelona, space is limited so please ...
LRTV Documentaries
Going Green in 2015

2|12|15   |   02:04   |   (0) comments


Energy efficiency is set to be an incredibly hot topic in the telecom industry this year.
LRTV Custom TV
SDN & NFV: Where Are We Going From Here?

2|11|15   |   11:27   |   (0) comments


Vitesse Semiconductor CTO Martin Nuss gives his perspective on why SDN and NFV should be tightly interconnected and how he sees the industry moving forward.
LRTV Documentaries
Time for Gigabit Europe?

2|9|15   |   01:27   |   (4) comments


Gigabit broadband networks are springing up all around the US and they'll soon become more commonplace in Europe.
LRTV Interviews
Brocade Brings New IP Vision to 2020 Vision Executive Summit

2|3|15   |   4:23   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Light Reading gathered telecom executives in Reykjavik, Iceland to discuss their vision for high-capacity networks through the end of the decade. The intimate, interactive meeting was set against the backdrop of Iceland's spectacular natural beauty. As one of the event's founding sponsors, Brocade's Kelly Herrell shared his company's strategy at ...
LRTV Interviews
Brocade's Kelly Herrell on the New IP

2|2|15   |   12:36   |   (0) comments


In December 2014, Steve Saunders sat down with Brocade VP of Software Networking Kelly Herrell at Light Reading's 2020 Vision executive summit in Reykjavik, Iceland. They spoke about Brocade's approach to the New IP, the future of the telecom industry, and more.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Dr. Dong Sun Talks About Carriers' Digital Transformation & Huawei’s Telco OS

1|29|15   |   6:28   |   (0) comments


Dr. Dong Sun, Chief Architect of Digital Transformation Solutions at Huawei, discusses how telecom operators can become digital ecosystem enablers and deliver optimal user experiences that are in real-time, on-demand, all-online, DIY and social (ROADS).
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Huawei's Chief Network Architect Talks about Network Experience & Operators’ Strategies

1|29|15   |   3:39   |   (0) comments


In the digital age, network experience has become the primary productivity especially for telecom operators. In this video, Wenshuan Dang, Huawei’s Chief Network Architect, discusses how carriers can tackle the challenge of infrastructure complexity in order to enhance business agility and improve user experience.
Upcoming Live Events
March 17, 2015, The Cable Center, Denver, CO
April 14, 2015, The Westin Times Square, New York City, NY
May 12, 2015, Grand Hyatt, Denver, CO
May 13-14, 2015, The Westin Peachtree, Atlanta, GA
June 8, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9-10, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 9, 2015, Chicago, IL
June 10, 2015, Chicago, IL
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Net neutrality, broadband services and the current outlook on data consumption, as presented by the New Jersey Institute of Technology.
Hot Topics
Cyber Security Expert Warns: You're Doing It Wrong
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/23/2015
10 Weirdly Useful IoT Devices
Eryn Leavens, Copy Desk Editor, 2/24/2015
Small Cells Enabling Location Services
Sarah Thomas, Editorial Operations Director, 2/25/2015
FCC Adopts Title II Rules
Alan Breznick, Cable/Video Practice Leader, 2/26/2015
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
Webinar Archive
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Check out Light Reading's interview with Jay Samit, the newly appointed CEO of publicly traded SeaChange International Inc. With a resume that includes Sony, EMI, and Universal, Samit brings a reputation as an entrepreneur and a disruptor to his new role at the video solutions company. Hear what he had to say about the opportunities in video, as well as the outlook for cable, telco, OTT and mobile service providers.
G'day! And welcome to an entirely new feature on Light Reading -- our weekly "CEO-to-CEO" interview.