WASHINGTON – Masayoshi Son, the Japanese owner of U.S. mobile carrier Sprint, said Monday he wants to launch a “price war” with the two major carriers as he seeks to acquire T-Mobile’s U.S. unit.
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 U.S. public television.
While declining to discuss details, Son said that he wants to go head-to-head and undercut U.S. 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 No. 1. So if we are No. 3, and if we have enough chance, I want to be No. 1. So I would go to price competition, very much aggressively,” he said.
Sprint, the third-ranking U.S. carrier, closed a deal in July that allowed SoftBank to take a controlling stake for $21.6 billion — the largest overseas acquisition ever by a Japanese company.
The Nikkei business daily reported in December that SoftBank was in talks to acquire T-Mobile U.S., which would make it the world’s second-largest mobile carrier, after China Mobile.
But any such deal will be expected to face close scrutiny by U.S. regulators in charge of ensuring competition. AT&T in 2011 sought to buy T-Mobile for $39 billion but backed down in the face of regulatory opposition.