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SoftBank chief eyes 'massive price war' with Verizon, AT&T

Masayoshi Son, who'll be pitching US policymakers Tuesday to consider a stronger wireless industry to vie with broadband, might need T-Mobile to achieve his ultimate goals.


SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son has officially put a target on the backs of AT&T and Verizon.

Speaking to Charlie Rose in an interview Monday, Son said that he'd "like to have the real fight" for mobile supremacy, adding that if he can get to that point, he would enter into "a more massive price war."

SoftBank, which acquired a controlling stake in Sprint last year, is reportedly mulling a merger with T-Mobile USA to create a more competitive alternative to the big two of AT&T and Verizon. But Son's comments suggest he also wants to undercut his competitors on price, sacrificing profits in the short term to maximize market share over the long term.

Son didn't mention any plans to acquire T-Mobile, but his visit to the US this week is viewed as a lobbying trip to entice policymakers to accept such a merger. Son will be speaking in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, discussing his belief that large, competitive wireless carriers can be strong competitors to broadband providers in the consumer market. In order for his company to reach that level of competitiveness, Sprint would likely need T-Mobile's help.

Whether Son can actually get a deal done, however, remains to be seen. The US government has already examined the idea of a wireless merger involving T-Mobile -- and quickly struck it down in 2011 when AT&T made a $39 billion bid for T-Mobile. It appears Son's latest efforts are designed to make his case before SoftBank and Sprint make a run for the fourth-largest US carrier.

(Via AFP)