Senator advises FCC be wary of Son’s Sprint bid


U.S. Sen. Charles Schumer is urging federal regulators to “take a very careful look” at Softbank Corp.’s proposed acquisition of Sprint Nextel Corp., citing cybersecurity concerns.

Softbank is “a Japanese company with alleged ties to China, the country that is currently the leading source of cyberbreaches,” the New York Democrat said in a recent letter sent to the U.S. Treasury Department and the Federal Communications Commission.

“Softbank’s Japanese wireless network reportedly relies heavily on Chinese equipment (manufacturers) with ties to the Chinese government,” said Schumer, claiming the deal could provide back doors for Chinese hackers to use when targeting U.S. industry and government.

Softbank President Masayoshi Son has pledged not to use Chinese-made telecommunications devices in the United States if the company acquires Sprint, the third-largest mobile carrier in the United States.

Dish Network Corp., a U.S. satellite broadcaster that is also bidding for Sprint, has reportedly opened a campaign to block Softbank’s bid by raising national security concerns.

Softbank has a $20.1 billion offer on the table for 70 percent of Sprint. Dish last month offered $25.5 billion for all of Sprint.