SoftBank Man Joins Sprint as Technical COO

SoftBank is bringing in one of its own to help Sprint with its LTE TDD rollout in the newly created position of technical chief operating officer.

SoftBank Corp. board member Junichi Miyakawa will become technical COO of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) November 1, the company announced Friday. Both Sprint CTO Stephen Bye and Chief Network Officer John Saw will report to Miyakawa, who will oversee Sprint's Spark deployment.

Core to Sprint Spark in particular -- and Network Vision in general -- is the rollout of Long Term Evolution Time Division Duplex (LTE TDD) in the 1900MHz, 800MHz and 2.5GHz spectrum band, something Miyakawa has experience with at SoftBank, where he helped the carrier build out its LTE network on 2.5GHz. He joined the SoftBank BB holding group as a board director in 2003, and is currently the executive vice president, board director and CTO for SoftBank Mobile, SoftBank BB and SoftBank Telecom. (See Sprint's LTE TDD Future to Boost Current Vendors and Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)

Sprint says Miyakawa will oversee the carrier's network and technology organization, including related strategy, network operations and performance, as well as lead its relationships with key network equipment vendors. Miyakawa will report directly to new CEO Marcelo Claure. (See Sprint's New Boss Plans Cost Cuts.)

Keep up with the latest in mobile operator developments on our dedicated mobile channel here on Light Reading.

Why this matters
Miyakawa will be more than a SoftBank figurehead at Sprint. Deploying 2.5GHz remains one of the carrier's biggest challenges right now as it's crucial to improving its network performance in important urban areas. So far, while Sprint has made progress on Network Vision, it's been painstakingly slow, costing it thousands of customers in the process. (See Sprint Feels the Churn Burn Before Spark.)

This is one of many shake-ups SoftBank and new Sprint CEO Claure have made at the US's third-largest carrier. More than 900 employees at its Overland Park, Kan., headquarters have been laid off so far this year, although the cuts were expected to be largely complete by today. (See Sprint Starts Layoffs, Will Take $160M Charge and Sprint Cuts 452 Jobs at Kansas HQ.)

The company has also lost some high-level executives as part of the SoftBank shakeup, including, of course, former CEO Dan Hesse, as well as Iyad Tarazi, vice president of network development and engineering; Steve Elfman, president of network operations; and Bob Azzi, senior vice president of networks. Light Reading has heard rumblings that CTO Bye is taking on a new role within the company, but it appears -- at least for the time being -- he will continue to lead his division alongside Saw, both reporting to Miyakawa. (See Hesse Out, Claure In: Sprint Is Son's House Now! and Sprint Loses Its Small Cell Guru.)

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— Sarah Reedy, Senior Editor, Light Reading

PaulERainford 11/3/2014 | 4:18:14 AM
Re: Stick that on your business card T'Pau is two things: a UK pop band who had a single cheesy hit in the 80s, and they took their name from a Vulcan woman on Star Trek. Bet you wish you never asked.
nasimson 10/31/2014 | 2:28:58 PM
Re: Stick that on your business card > Technical Chief Operating Officer? Would that be a T'COO? (think T'PAU)


Whats T'PAU? I dont get it. Mind explaining?
nasimson 10/31/2014 | 2:26:51 PM
Sprints way of doing things After CTO and CNO, there s now  a technical COO as well. And CTO & CNO are no longer reporting to the CEO but to the new guy from SoftBank. Have they realized that they just got demoted?
Phil_Britt 10/31/2014 | 1:49:27 PM
Re: Three's company? Multiple CTOs could make sense. The reponsibilities are too complex and diverse for one person. Yet there will still be some sort of heirarchy as each one fights for resources. He who obtains the most resources wins.
DOShea 10/31/2014 | 12:20:56 PM
Three's company? How many CTOs does Sprint need? These supposedly three different titles sound like they have pretty similar implications. That is going to be one crowded office...
sarahthomas1011 10/31/2014 | 11:10:25 AM
OP HQ Miyakawa will be based in OP, not California, which suggests he's going to be deeply involved...and perhaps that OP isn't going away as the HQ anytime soon.
PaulERainford 10/31/2014 | 11:02:45 AM
Stick that on your business card Technical Chief Operating Officer? Would that be a T'COO? (think T'PAU)
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