With all the talks and mergers in the last couple years, Thursday brought a very surprising bombshell. A Sprint Nextel press release confirmed that Japanese telecom provider SoftBank is in talks to make a “substantial investment” in Sprint. This would not be the first time a foreign corporation has taken a larger interest in a US wireless carrier, however. Germany’s Deutsche Telekom owns T-Mobile USA and UK-based Vodafone has 45% non-controlling interest in the nation’s largest carrier, Verizon Wireless.
Looking from the outside, to say this is a surprise is an understatement. SoftBank and Sprint use different frequencies on different wireless standards (GSM vs. CDMA), on different sides of the Pacific, plus Sprint hasn’t been very profitable as of late and is way late to the LTE game.
So here’s the big question: I’m not very familiar with SoftBank or Japanese mobile carriers in general. If you’re a viewer who is or has lived in Japan, is there something Softbank does that make it stand apart? Post your comments below.