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SoftBank CEO Pans U.S. Wireless Market, Appoints New Regulatory Chief

Tue, 03/11/2014 - 5:24pm
Andrew Berg

On the same day that Masayoshi Son presented a much-hyped speech in Washington D.C., SoftBank Tuesday also announced Bruce Gottlieb as the new executive vice president for legal and regulatory affairs. 

Gottlieb will join SoftBank Inc, the U.S. subsidiary of Softbank Corp. He will be based in Washington, D.C. and report to Ron Fisher, president of SoftBank Holdings Inc.

Gottlieb joins SoftBank from the National Journal, where he has served as President since 2012 and general counsel and senior vice president of corporate strategy for parent company, Atlantic Media, since 2010.

The announcement comes as SoftBank Corp. president and CEO Masayoshi Son pleads his case for more consolidation in the United States. Son delivered a speech in Washington D.C. Tuesday, where he pledged more competition and mobile broadband speeds up to 200 Mbps via Sprint's Spark initiative.

Son compared Verizon to China Mobile, saying that Verizon had invested in 50,000 cell sites for the LTE, while China Mobile was preparing to invest 10 times that amount as it deploys its LTE network. 

"Chinese is behind the U.S. today, however, you know, a year, two years, three years from now the situation may change quite a bit," Son said, according to a transcript of his speech posted online. 

Citing a report from Open Signal, Son also said that Americans pay more for data that runs at slower speeds. 

"Even though U.S. network is number 15 in the connectivity speed, the price is number two in the world," Son said, adding that the Japanese use 50 percent more data than customers in the United States. "The price is lower, so if you look at, if you compare price per gigabytes, price per the size of the data that you use, America pays 1.7 times more than Japanese." 

The message Son seemed to suggest was that the status quo in the U.S. wireless market could be improved through consolidation. After regulators expressed skepticism of a possible Sprint/T-Mobile merger, Son is now making an appeal to the American public. On Monday, he appeared on the Charlie Rose show, saying he felt compelled to convince regulators that the idea would improve the state of competition in the United States. 

SoftBank's appointment of new a U.S. regulatory and legal executive comes after the Wall Street Journal published a report that claimed SoftBank was struggling to navigate the complex legal and regulatory environment in Washington.  

 

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