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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brookseven 12/2/2013 | 4:19:23 PM
Re: Why move? Because the Japanese want easy travel and easier extension to Vegas.  He who makes the gold makes the rules.


wanlord 12/2/2013 | 4:07:56 PM
Re: Why move? I was more referring to the apps not the devices. Like Candy crush doesn't care about the network provider as much as they care about being in the app stores. VZW did a similar thing opening a Technology Center in San Francisco to work with app developers, M2M, etc. but not sure it's worth anybody relocating a company for.


And remember why it took so long, Sprints network couldn't handle it so Apple made a smart decision not look bad if the network sucked.
DanJones 12/2/2013 | 4:00:26 PM
Re: Why move? Device providers have shown that they'll wait to get on your network, no? How long did it take for Sprint to get the iPhone?
wanlord 12/2/2013 | 3:47:30 PM
Why move? Article from May says they were building an R&D Center in Silicon Valley, but no talks of moving the Corp HQ. What would the benefit be to relocate offices and employees from one of the cheapest areas to be, to the most expensive? Being close to the application providers is not that important. They NEED to be on your network and devices and will come to you... I imagine they would lose half their corp employees who would not want to relo and spend millions for the ones that do.  Son is smart guy, but probably not dumb enough to do this just so HQ can be in his "backyard" and make it easier for Japanese execs to visit.

DanJones 12/2/2013 | 3:46:12 PM
Re: Makes sense Kind of an indicator of where the industry is headed too. Sprint moves closer to the device designers and cloud providers that will be a big part of mobile in the next decade.
DOShea 12/2/2013 | 3:41:01 PM
Makes sense This certainly makes sense practically and logistically, but it also will surely make folks in Overland Park unhappy, even if it just means high-level execs moving. As I remember, there was a lot of sensitivity around the Nextel deal and where the seat of power would be.
DanJones 12/2/2013 | 12:25:33 PM
Qualcomm/California Also puts Sprint close to Qualcomm as they undertake this massive "Spark" project, which will need a lot of support on the handset modem side.
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