Sprint’s former CEO says carrier could survive without T-Mobile, but it would be ‘very different’


After T-Mobile CEO John Legere took the stand in the T-Mobile-Sprint merger trial to end last week, former Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure helped resume the trial this week.

During his testimony, Claure said that a merger with T-Mobile wasn’t necessary for Sprint to survive, contradicting some previous witnesses. T-Mobile CEO John Legere said that Sprint would be “sold for parts” within two years. “Those are possibilities,” Claure responded today. “I don’t necessarily agree completely.”

Just because Sprint could survive without the merger doesn’t mean that it wouldn’t be without compromises, though, Claure went on to explain. He suggested that Sprint would probably abandon several markets and may have to borrow money and raise prices. “Sprint two years from now would be very different from Sprint today, because we would cease to be a national competitor,” the former Sprint CEO said.

Current Sprint CEO Michel Combes echoed Claure’s statements, explaining that Sprint’s backup plan in case the T-Mobile merger fails is to focus on fewer markets. Combes estimated that Sprint could still cover around three quarters of the U.S. population.

Other notable tidbits in the trial today include a piece of evidence from New York lawyer Elinor Hoffman, who submitted a document showing Sprint’s chief commercial officer Dow Draper telling the California Public Utilities Commission that “Sprint will be here to compete whether we merge with T-Mobile or not.” The merger needed approval from 19 state public utilities commissions.

Another piece of evidence submitted by the states was an email from Masayoshi Son, CEO of SoftBank, which owns a majority stake in Sprint. T-Mobile and Sprint have cited Sprint’s debt as a reason that the merger should be allowed to be completed, but in an email to Marcelo Claure in December 2017, Masayoshi Son said, “If we need to pay back most or all of the bonds, I’m willing to pay back all of those.”

The T-Mobile-Sprint merger trial will continue tomorrow, when it’s expected that Dish Network co-founder Charlie Ergen will testify.

Source: Bloomberg

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  • Nearmsp

    This is nothing but making Mr. Son’s investment whole thanks to the largess of his buddy Trump. Trump’s poodle Ajit Pai is on the driver seat on this. CA and NY are big enough to derail this crony capitalism.

    • riverhorse

      I’m a New Yorker, but this country will actually get stronger post The Big Earthquakes (Chicago and California) and The Sea Rising (Miami and NYC). Our oceans and lakes will act as the great antibiotic cleanser riding us of the present day plagues joining together and masquerading as a Virtuous Rainbow: Invading Communist Hordes, The Drug-Addled, Welfare Activists.
      During reconstruction only the hard working and truly Virtuous will survive.

    • Francisco Peña

      When you rant on Trump in a cellular merger, you lose all credibility. Please put down the koolaid filled bong and go outside to enjoy the day.

      • marque2

        Even I see the similarities
        The same press that lies about the impeachment of Trump is the same anti-American pro socialist anti corporate press that is presenting the PC line about the merger trial. Of course we aren’t hearing the whole truth

    • Albert Orange

      “I brought up Trump in a topic that wasn’t about Trump! I WIN!”

      • Shaun Michalak

        Yea, but bringing someone up that has relevance, and someone that doesn’t, are 2 different things. As long as it ties in nicely, and is not some political based rant, then in my opinion, go for it. The problem here is, this is NOT about Trump. This is about what will happen to Sprint and T-Mobile, and the only thing that Trump, or any of the people under him has to say about it is, can or can’t they merger. T-Mobile and Sprint have had talks, on and off, for about this for the past 5 years. That was long before Trump was even considered about anything.. This is why it makes someone bringing Trump into it look like an idiot.

  • mikeZo6

    Truth comes out ! Sprint has money and tons of network we always knew that !

    • gorilla

      Sprint doesn’t have money, Softbank does. But Softbank’s money is now being drained by WeWork.

      • mikeZo6

        Sprint was good before they bought Nextel, dump WeWork

    • Shaun Michalak

      Sprint does have a poor network, lots of frequency, and money.. But, their income has gone down, because their number of customers have stayed about the same for 4 years.. and a lot of the customers that they do have, have gone to cheaper rate plans, which means less income. So that money that they have, is just keeping them afloat, and not leaving much room for improvements, etc.. Sprint has come out with 5G on their towers.. You think that they did that themselves?? Nope.. Sprint has just about ALWAYS been the last one to come out with the newer tech. In fact, it took them 4 or so years just to implement VoLTE technology, years after everyone else was using it. T-Mobile has gotten permission to test “Sprints” spectrum under the guise of they will be using some of it by leasing it from Sprint, from the government. It is only because T-Mobile will get the benefit of this once the merger goes though, and they want everything in place to be able to just throw a switch, or whatever to be able to use it, and have all the kinks ironed out before they get it, so they can implement it immediately, not years later.

      As for spectrum, while yes, there is Spectrum there to use, there is a big difference between usable spectrum, and good spectrum for coverage. Sprint does not have “low band” spectrum to use, and that greatly compromises their coverage and network. Come over to my house.. Go on the front porch, and I get 3 or so bars of coverage there. Come just inside the door, and it drops to 2 bars at most. Go across the living room, and you lose all signal. That kind of coverage is not what you can call “good” spectrum, if that is all you have. Sprints lowest band spectrum that they use, is over 3 times higher then T-Mobiles lowest spectrum, which makes a huge difference in buildings. So while they do have a TON of higher band spectrum, at 2.5 GHZ (which is really bad for penetration), they also have the least amount of mid band (1900mhz / 1.9ghz) to use of any of the companies, which leads to less bandwidth for people to use for data.. That means T-Mobile, AT&T, Verizon, and even Dish have more mid band then Sprint. This also means, that while they do have a TON of 2.5ghz, what good is it if you can not use it while watching TV, because it is not good for penetration of walls?

  • vrm

    All the “news” coming out of the trial, mainly from establishment media sources (in the above case, Bloomberg) indicate that t-mobile and sprint are TRYING to sabotage the merger. Does that make sense to anyone ? After going through ALL this for the past 2 years (and longer, considering previous attempts to merge/buy/sell),

    Is it just possible that the actual trial proceedings are far different from the picture painted to us by the media, which relies on the public not getting information from elsewhere (in this case, almost impossible unless someone actually attends the trial) ? Could the media possibly be in collusion with the AGs ? Why not- they sure work for the DNC anyway.

    Anyone who doesn’t watch the “impeachment” hearings in the house on c-span but relies on media outlets to provide them the summary will take away an entirely different picture of what is happening. A narrative carefully crafted to make the president and republicans look evil and democrats as saving the country whereas in reality its the exact opposite. c-span does not cover everything, esp the press statements that republican law makers make but at least it covers the part of the hearings that are public.

    The media IS corrupt. I can vouch for that. I have seen that esp over the past 3 years. It was always corrupt but I realized 3 years ago how bad it was. And the govt too.

    • Joe P

      Once again, it’s impossible to tell if certain opinions are coming from Bernie Bros or the MAGA contingent.

      Is this coming from QAnon or BAnon?

      • dickhammer

        Why does it matter if what he is saying is true?

    • Shaun Michalak

      I have watched some of those hearing about the impeachment.. From what I have seen, the people that keep getting called up are only people that the Democrats like, who will lie for them, or say what they want.. I have even seen these same people that are questioned, trying to give one sided views as facts. I have seen so many times where i would have been asking this and that, and the questions never come up because most of the people questioning, are all Democrats.. For example, since a certain someone was the kid of someone running for president, wouldn’t his ties to that country have an influence on how it dad might act as president? So isn’t it possible that if his dad won, there could be a impartial influence to help his son with his ventures in the business? After all, the type of business that the company is, is not a general business like Avon, or Nike. It has much closer ties to the government then that.

      Oh, but that would look bad for the Democrats, so we can not let questions like that get asked. Or how about when the Democrats asked questions, they happily answered the questions in a way that made the situation look bad, and always gave their opinion in the same way. But, when a Republican asked a question that they did not like, suddenly they had to give a long explanation to excuse why they made the comment, and to take up the time so that they could not ask any more questions. I have seen more then one Republican have to cut them off because they would not shut up. Did you say this?? Yes or no.. Could it be taken as an insult to Republicans? Yes or no.. Well yes and yes, but you have to understand, yada yada yada.. You would be held in contempt of court if you tried that in a court room.. So why was this not enforced when they did it “only” to Republicans??

      Ironic how the media never commented on stuff like that.

      • Shaun Michalak

        Just to note.. I have no problems with either side getting people that they want to testify.. What I “do” have a problem with is.. When someone comes in with their mind set to testify as to how they want it to turn out, based on what they want, and not based on unbiased facts.. When someone talks in a way that they are completely biased towards one side, that is just wrong to use them as the “only” type of people that are questioned. All that they had to do was say, the law states this.. The law states that. This is what they wanted, etc.. The problem is when they start testifying in a way where they are putting their opinions down, as if they were facts.. and that is exactly what I have seen..

  • Hurfenurbler

    a lot has changed for Softbank since Dec 2017…

    • Shaun Michalak

      Yea, their revenue has gone down.. Overall, they still have the same amount of customers, because that has stayed the same for the past 4 years.. But, the problem is, a lot of those customers have gone to lower priced plans, so that means less income total.

  • Francisco Peña

    “Sprint will be here to compete whether we merge with T-Mobile or not.”

    Not very damning letter with that statement. Sprint will be there to compete, but Jordan or Lebron in their primes vs a high school kid is technically competition, although not very fair, not very good, nor will the underdog have a chance to win.

    Same with Sprint. They would compete, but not on the same level. Both former and current CEOs said as much, that Sprint wouldn’t be the same. Sure, they’d “Compete” but on a much reduced scale.

    “If we need to pay back most or all of the bonds, I’m willing to pay back all of those.”
    Yeah.. and then have no cash reserves because you spent it all. So now if something happens you don’t have the resources to deal with it.

    • Shaun Michalak

      Bonds are borrowed money.. Someone wants to turn them in, if you have the money to pay it back, then you “have” to pay it back.. But there is a big difference between paying it back because you have the money to do it, and taking the money away from needed improvements to keep your company going. That is like saying, yes, my company needs a new press because the old one is broke.. and I am taking the money to pay back a loan vs getting the new press so that I can stay in business.

      The thing is, while yes, they can compete, that statement does not state, “as an equal”.. By that meaning, even US Cellular is competition. But wait.. US Cellular is not competition, that is why there is only 4 major carriers.. so guess what happens when Sprint drops coverage in not very profitable areas.. Hmmm

      • Francisco Peña

        yes. the bonds have a maturity date that needs to be paid by then, or earlier, but paying it too early, especially for Sprint now, and they have not as much cash to do things.

        • Shaun Michalak

          Partly right.. The thing is, it does not need to be paid by then.. The person with the bond and just let it ride.. I have heard of people getting a 5 year bond, and letting it go for 10, or 15 years before they cashed it in.. It just keeps collecting interest.

  • Willie D

    It’s hilarious that TMobile and AT&T said the same, and that the future of LTE for AT&T was at stake if they couldn’t merge with TMobile and gave some lame excuse they wouldn’t cover half the nation otherwise. In the end they ended up giving TMobile massive amounts of cash, roaming and spectrum – which can be argued if AT&T really didnt have it to give, then why did they create a giant penalty on themselves with such a huge breakup fee – resources that AT&T could have otherwise used instead of a failed merger. TMo is in the same boat with Sprint. BOTH companies have large parent companies that admit they can go on alone, but are doing the same thing regarding 5G as TMo and AT&T claimed about LTE, needing each other or they both will be inferior.
    Today, we know this to all be false. If anyone remembers history, the same excuse is being used by Sprint as TMo used, they wont be able to cover all markets, yadda yadda.
    If anything I see Sprint taking the most advantage of their spectrum and actually being a cheaper more reliable middle ground in terms of 5G experience. They have the spectrum and the speeds that can compete including needing less cell sites than mmWave so that’s a lower cost for Sprint, but also much much faster than TMo currently. If anything Sprint will be a force to be reckoned with against TMobile in medium term due to Sprint having better speeds and coverage in many places TMo 600Mhz just cant be activated for a few more years.

    So yeah, Sprint is good to keep trucking without help.

  • mikeZo6

    Sprint CEO Marcelo Claure is why Sprint is in bad shape now Need good CEO to take sprint back to good again.