Sprint Chairman slams U.S. wireless market

Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank and chairman of Sprint, thinks the U.S. needs to fix its wireless market.

Compared to most other countries’ wireless markets, U.S. subscribers pay more for worse service, Son said Tuesday, speaking at an event hosted by the Chamber of Commerce.

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Son compared the U.S. wireless market to Japan’s.  Japanese wireless subscribers use more wireless networks more, get better service and pay less, he said.

“American consumers use less data traffic but pay more,” he said. “Is that a good situation?”

“[The] U.S. has been the inventor of the Internet technologies, but it’s falling behind,” he said, pointing to American tech companies such as Google, Amazon and Apple.

Additionally, the better wireless services and the advantages they provide are typically available only to those people with higher income levels, perpetuating a “digital divide,” he said.

“The poorer gets poorer because they don’t have the access to the next century’s technology.”

Son called on the country to fix its wireless market to include better service at lower prices across the board.

“First we have to realize that there is an issue,” he said. “If we realize that there is an issue, [that] status quo is not the solution, then we wake up … to make a change.”

In an interview published earlier in the week, Son told PBS’ Charlie Rose that SoftBank wants to purchase T-Mobile and engage in a “real fight” with the major players in the U.S. wireless market.

“I would like to have the real fight, not the pseudo fight,” he said.

Son said he wants Sprint to have the scale to engage in a “heavyweight fight” with competitors and that he is willing to forego short term profit for long term gains in market share.

Son declined to comment on the state of the rumored talks between his company and T-Mobile. 

“We would like to make a deal, but there are steps and details that we have to work out,” he said.