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SoftBank CEO Son: US mobile broadband industry needs more competition

Grant Gross | March 12, 2014
Son says he feels an obligation to bring high speeds and low prices to the U.S. mobile market.

SoftBank can offer competition without heavy U.S. government subsidies, he added. "We don't need the government's money," he said. "We don't need the taxpayer's money."

Critics of Son's said his analysis of the U.S. mobile industry was flawed.

"The notion that U.S. broadband and mobile are lagging is simply false, and dangerous — because it is being used as a pretext for massive new regulation of the Internet economy," wrote Bret Swanson, president of Entropy Economics, in Forbes.

While Son argues for more market competition, Sprint has asked the U.S. Federal Communications Commission to limit the amount of spectrum competitors AT&T and Verizon Wireless can buy at auction, Swanson noted.

Son is "right that wireless is an increasingly effective partial substitute for wired broadband," Swanson wrote. "But the key limiting factor is spectrum — where Mr. Son's own Sprint already reigns as spectrum king — not a failure of investment, technology, or too little oversight from Washington."


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