Does anyone remember when Masayoshi Son said that Sprint didn’t have enough spectrum, even though they have a ton? Well now, he’s talking about selling some of that spectrum to help fund their turnaround. According to an interview with Son, who is also the CEO of Softbank which owns a controlling stake in Sprint (the US’ third largest carrier). Sprint has some “very precious” airwaves, that other carriers have actually asked Sprint if they could buy them.
Softbank purchased Sprint back in 2013, and since then they’ve been working to turn the company around. For a good bit in 2014, they were working to purchase T-Mobile USA, but after plenty of lobbying, it became clear to Masayoshi Son that the FCC wasn’t going to allow that consolidation to occur. So Sprint stopped trying to buy T-Mobile and decided to take out Dan Hesse as their CEO – he is actually on the board of directors though – and replace him with Marcelo Claure late last year.
Since Claure took over the helm at Sprint, they’ve seen a nice turnaround. They’ve dropped their prices quite a bit and have been adding customers. Under Hesse, it had been a while since they actually had net adds. While Sprint is still losing money, a lot of money around $2.5 billion last quarter to be exact. They are gaining customers, which should help them in the long run.
At a time where other carriers are spending billions on spectrum, AT&T just spend about $18 billion on the AWS-3 Spectrum auction, Sprint is looking to sell some. I doubt they’ll be selling any of the 800MHz spectrum from the Nextel deal, but who knows what Son and Claure has in mind when it comes to turning around Sprint.
“Sprint has a lot of spectrum compared to other companies. In 2.5 gigahertz, it has the biggest bandwidth in the world,” Son said in a phone interview from Tokyo Thursday. “All the new iPhone 6 and other major handsets have 2.5 gigahertz, so suddenly, what was undervalued in people’s view has become very precious.”
While the 2500MHz spectrum isn’t what we call “good spectrum”, mainly because it’s higher up so it’s tough to penetrate buildings, it can still handle a ton of bandwidth. And as Son said in his interview, quoted above, the iPhone 6 and a bunch of other handsets do support that band.
So we’ll see what these two are up to in the near future. What does everyone think that Son and Claure are up to? Let us know in the comments below.