Mergers & acquisitions

CTIA 2011: Hesse Says Wireless Is 'Wind of Change'

ORLANDO, Fla. -- International CTIA WIRELESS 2011 -- Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) CEO Dan Hesse got surprisingly political in the opening keynote of the major mobile show in Orlando, lauding wireless as "a wind of change" that has helped demonstrators in Middle Eastern countries such as Egypt and Bahrain to pull together their democratic revolts.

During a wide-ranging 30-minute speech that also touched on mobile health, spectrum policy and more, Hesse mentioned on several occasions how wireless has changed the world for protesters in the Middle East.

He also expressed admiration for NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM)'s mammoth task in getting much of its mobile network up and running again in Japan after the earthquake and tsunami. This brought the loudest applause of the speech from the crowd.

But Hesse completely avoided the hot topic of the planned AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) buyout of T-Mobile US Inc. during his opening keynote address. AT&T's $39 billion acquisition of its smaller GSM rival has been just about the only topic of conversation amongst show attendees here in the Florida sunshine.

In fact, the Sprint CEO saved his jokey comments about the merger for the later roundtable. In the opening speech, Hesse mostly wore his CTIA chairman hat, claiming that "the U.S. has more 4G deployed than any other country in the world." [Ed note: What's Sweden then? Chopped herring? See Swedish LTE Challengers Wield Unlimited Offers .]

In that vein, Hesse reiterated that spectrum was "oxygen" for the U.S. wireless industry and that it needed more room to breathe. Nonetheless, he lauded the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and current administration for its tougher stance on opening up more wireless spectrum recently.

— Dan Jones, Site Editor, Light Reading Mobile

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