Softbank’s chairman Masayoshi Son says that merging Sprint and T-Mobile will improve U.S. broadband access. It won’t.
In the movie Memento, our hero Leonard has a very short memory. Teddy, a friendly cop, promises to help him achieve his goals. But Leonard has a Polaroid of the cop in his pocket, with the chilling legend:
DON’T BELIEVE HIS LIES.
Son’s central argument is that home broadband access in the U.S. will soon be dominated by three giant companies: AT&T, Verizon, and KableTimeCast. He’s right. That’s going to lead to high prices and fewer upgrades, he says. He’s also right there. But buying T-Mobile will not help him fix this problem; it will just help him eliminate a competitor.
You Can’t Do Home Broadband Over Just Cellular
Sprint is a pure cellular wireless company. So is T-Mobile. Cellular technologies can’t deliver the capacity that U.S. home broadband users want. And buying T-Mobile doesn’t get Sprint any closer to providing that greater capacity.
Rather, as Fitchard says, ground-breaking wireless broadband networks will come via Wi-Fi, white spaces, and other technologies that buying T-Mobile wouldn’t provide. If Son is looking to improve home broadband, he’s merging with the wrong company.