Carrier expected to continue losing subscribers in the near future
Japanese carrier SoftBank's strategic investment in Sprint may have closed over two months ago, but CEO of SoftBank Masayoshi Son is tempering the excitement with statements given today. Speaking to reporters in Tokyo, Son drew on his wisdom in previous acquisitions to give a more realistic roadmap of how quickly he expects to get Sprint heading in a positive direction:
"It took around a year after SoftBank bought Vodafone (before) we reached the No. 1 position of net gains in subscribers. It takes time to get devices ready and prepare services and the network .. At the very least you need half a year or a year. And for anything substantial you need one or two years."
It's no secret that Sprint is in need of something closer to the "substantial" end of that spectrum, leading us to think we may be as many as two years away from SoftBank's influence being felt here in the US.
Sprint has been losing customers at a pretty consistent rate for years now, and expectations of future losses are being increased based on recent performance. Although the carrier may be making big moves in acquiring Clearwire and taking a large investment — totaling 80 percent of the company — from SoftBank, it may take longer than many want to wait to turn things around.
Son seems ready to weather the storm and is confident that a turnaround is possible if given a little bit of time to work things out. But that doesn't always go over well with investors, who seem split over which strategy will be most profitable both short and long term. For now, Sprint is still the third-largest carrier in the US and has millions of customers that are hoping it can turn things around.