Owner Of Sprint: I Want To Buy T-Mobile And Start A Price War With Verizon And AT&T

President of Japan’s mobile carrier Softbank Masayoshi Son at a news conference announcing Softbank will acquire US-based Sprint Nextel in Tokyo on October 15, 2012. Yoshikazu Tsuno/AFP/File

The Japanese owner of US mobile carrier Sprint said Monday he wanted to launch a “price war” with the two major carriers as he seeks to acquire T-Mobile’s US unit.

Masayoshi Son, the tycoon whose SoftBank company holds a controlling stake in Sprint, confirmed his reported interest in T-Mobile, whose parent company is Germany’s Deutsche Telekom, in an interview broadcast on US public television.

Son, while declining to discuss details, said that he wanted to go head-to-head and undercut US giants AT&T and Verizon, replicating his aggressive strategy of sacrificing short-term profit while pursuing a greater market share.

“I would like to have the real fight, not the pseudo-fight,” Son told “The Charlie Rose Show.”

“If I can have the real fight, I go in a more massive price war,” he said.

“I want to be number one. So if we are number three, and if we have enough chance, I want to be number one. So I would go to price competition, very much aggressively,” he said.

Sprint, the third-ranking US carrier, closed a deal in July that allowed SoftBank to take a controlling stake for $US21.6 billion — the largest overseas acquisition ever by a Japanese company.

Japan’s Nikkei business daily reported in December that SoftBank was in talks to acquire T-Mobile US, which would make it the world’s second largest mobile carrier after China Mobile.

But any such deal would be expected to face close scrutiny by US regulators in charge of ensuring competition. AT&T in 2011 sought to buy T-Mobile for $US39 billion but backed down in the face of regulatory opposition.

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