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.”