Claure better fits Son's vision for Sprint, which now appears set to remain independent and compete with fourth-place carrier T-Mobile USA instead of trying to buy it, analysts said. Outgoing CEO Dan Hesse, by contrast, came to Sprint after a long career in the telecom establishment. Under his leadership, Sprint had a very different culture from Softbank's, Gartner's Menezes said.
"Softbank has always prided itself on its ability to innovate, to disrupt markets, and to identify where the gaps in the market were that it could exploit," Menezes said. Sprint once had that edge, but it's been lost, he said.
Under Claure, the country's third-largest carrier is likely to start acting more like an underdog.
"In the short-term, we will focus on becoming extremely cost efficient and competing aggressively in the marketplace," Claure said in a press release on Wednesday. "While consolidating makes sense in the long-term, for now, we will focus on growing and repositioning Sprint."
That's more likely to be a winning strategy, according to Entner.
"If you're playing the game by the current rules and you're losing, then maybe you should change the rules of the game," Entner said.
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