Sprint: Heading to California?

Sprint may not have its home in Kansas much longer as the US carrier is preparing to move its nerve center to California, Light Reading understands.

Industry sources say the third-largest mobile operator in the US is getting ready to move its corporate headquarters from Overland Park, Kan., to California. The move would be prompted by SoftBank Mobile Corp. 's acquisition of Sprint Corp. (NYSE: S) (See Softbank Closes on Sprint Acquisition.)

SoftBank has been trying to move some Japanese executives to the US to help with the Sprint transition: California is an easier commute for domestic execs than Kansas.

A Sprint employee tells Light Reading that -- although he hadn't specifically heard of a move -- SoftBank is very hands on at the merged company.

There is "a lot of internal [and] operational auditing going on that's making employees nervous," the worker, who preferred to remain anonymous, told us. "Softbank has a lot more involvement than anyone had anticipated."

Responding to questions, Sprint vice president of corporate communications Doug Duvall says the operator "has no plans to move its corporate headquarters from Overland Park."

In July, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son said that SoftBank plans $16 billion worth of capital investments in Sprint during the next two years. SoftBank and Sprint are also planning to open an R&D center in Silicon Valley, employing up to 1,000 workers.

Sprint currently has about 40,000 full and part-time employees, 99% of whom are based in the US. It is not clear how an HQ move might affect Sprint employees.

The top spot, however, will be safe for Dan Hesse until 2018. SoftBank put the Sprint CEO's contract renewal on a five-year cycle, rather than reviewing it every year, as was previously done. (See Sprint CEO Hesse to Stay On Through 2018.)

It wouldn't be the first time that Sprint has consolidated its headquarters following a merger. Sprint operated in Reston, Va. and Overland Park following its merger with Nextel in 2005 but consolidated the HQ in Kansas in 2008 after Hesse joined as CEO. (See Sprint Shrinks HQ.)

Sprint and SoftBank already have plenty to do in 2014, with an ambitious plan to juice up the operator's 4G network in the years to come. Sprint is planning a network that runs LTE on 800MHz, 1900MHz and 2.5GHz. The so-called "Spark" update promises downlink peaks of 60 Mbit/s or more from Sprint. (See Sprint Sparks Up Vendors for Faster 4G LTE, Sprint Plans to Add 4G LTE Urban Heft in 2014, and Defining 4G: What the Heck Is LTE TDD?)

— Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, Light Reading

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wanlord 12/4/2013 | 9:53:24 AM
re: why move I wonder if HQ location really makes a huge difference. Look at AT&T and VZW, both located out in the NJ suburbs & Dallas but with satellite offices in most metro areas.  The only thing I can think of is attracting talent. Kansas is not exactly a hotbed of innovation.
yappcd 12/4/2013 | 2:15:32 AM
Re: Why move? What always baffled me about that scensrio is that AT&T was the only seller of the phones and should have known what areas needed to have their capacity increased.  It showed poor planning and lack of investment in the network.
sam masud 12/3/2013 | 3:45:23 PM
Re: Converged platform Don't know why Sprint moved from Reston, VA, in the first place. You'd think that being in the DC metro area would have some benefits, not to mention lobbying, government contracts, and keeping an eye on the FCC.
Sarah Thomas 12/3/2013 | 2:14:52 PM
Re: Converged platform Yeah, Nextel is shut down, but they are still operating a 3G CDMA network and WiMax and LTE, but they are moving towards nationwide LTE. You can do voice on tablets via an OTT service or video calling on WiFi.
Sarah Thomas 12/3/2013 | 2:13:10 PM
Re: Makes sense So how many people are we talking actually making the move? I wonder if it would be certain divisions of Sprint, like its wholesale business, or just the top guys and operational support. What all has to be there to make it the official HQ?
chuckj 12/3/2013 | 12:13:26 PM
Re: Converged platform Have they found a way to fix the problem of data/call concurrency with CDMA?  I have always wanted a tablet that I can make a phone call with.  
Ronhavens1 12/3/2013 | 11:21:55 AM
Re: Converged platform Back to California. In 1986 they moved from Burlingame to Kansas City ( as a Sprint employee at the time I made that move) .
DanJones 12/3/2013 | 10:07:03 AM
Re: Converged platform They've turned the Nextel network off now.
chuckj 12/3/2013 | 7:49:17 AM
Converged platform I recall that sprint is a combination of sprint pcs and another outfit that coined the walki talkie phones, that was running on TDMa, is sprint still a collage of wireless standards?
DanJones 12/2/2013 | 5:04:31 PM
Re: Why move? Arguably AT&T's network couldn't hadle the iPhone either but that didn't stop Apple having them as sole provider for a while.
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