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SmartWatch, Episode 1: Masayoshi Son Slams U.S. Wireless Industry

Thu, 03/13/2014 - 10:01am

Welcome to this week's episode of SmartWatch, brought to you by SanDisk. This week, we take a look at Softbank President and CEO Masayoshi Son’s quest for a unified Sprint and T-Mobile. We’ll also hear from BlackBerry CEO John Chen on his plans to turn around the Canadian handset maker. 

SoftBank President and CEO Masayoshi Son plead his case for more consolidation in the United States this week. 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.

Read: Masayoshi Son Wants to Be Number One

Read: Regulators Express Skepticism over Merger 

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.

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