March 11 Japan's SoftBank Corp is still
trying to buy T-Mobile US Inc and merge it with its
U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Corp, SoftBank CEO Masayoshi
Son said, even though U.S. regulators appear set against a deal.
Son told U.S. TV show host Charlie Rose in an interview that
if the deal goes through, he would launch a price war to break
what he called a duopoly by dominant U.S. carriers AT&T Inc
and Verizon Communications Inc.
"We would like to make the deal happen, but there are steps
and details that we have to work out," said Son, who had
previously declined to comment on whether Softbank was in talks
to buy T-Mobile. "We have to give it a shot."
Excerpts of the interview with the PBS network show were
posted on YouTube. The show is scheduled to be broadcast late on
Monday in the United States.
The possibility of a merger between T-Mobile and Sprint,
which was acquired by Softbank last year, was given the cold
shoulder by regulators, with Federal Communications Commission
Chairman Tom Wheeler expressing scepticism in meetings with Son
and Sprint Chief Executive Dan Hesse on Feb. 3, according to an
FCC official briefed on the matter.
Regulators are concerned that reducing the number of major
wireless carriers to three from four would hinder competition,
but Son has argued that competition would be more robust if a
third strong player is created through the merger of smaller
firms Sprint and T-Mobile.
Softbank is now focused on convincing the parties involved
with the merits of a merger, a senior company executive said,
adding that any moves towards pursuing a deal were now on hold.
The official declined to be named because he was not authorised
to speak about the matter publicly.
Son plans to present his vision for the U.S. wireless
communications industry in a speech in Washington, D.C., on
Tuesday, although a person familiar with the matter said he
would not talk about a bid for T-Mobile.