Softbank owned mobile carrier Sprint will soon be offering a Sony smartphone for the first time. The deal is designed to both give Sony’s mobile division a much needed boost and strengthen Sprint’s handset line up as it looks to stem the tide of subscribers that are heading for other waters.
As expected, Sprint went ahead and announced the Sharp Aquos Crystal, which is the first device to come out of the Sprint and Softbank merger. It will of course be available with Softbank in Japan, but it will also be available exclusively at Boost Mobile and Virgin Mobile USA.
The Sharp Aquos Crystal features a 5-inch edge-to-edge 720p (1280 x 720) display, a 1.2 GHz quad-core processor, 1.5 GB of RAM, 8 GB of internal storage, 8 MP rear camera, 1.2 MP front-facing camera, 2,040 mAh battery, Sprint Spark network, and Android 4.4.2 KitKat.
At a New York City event tomorrow, Sprint will be announcing Sharp’s Aquos Crystal, a 5-inch device with extremely small bezels.
Although it’s quite the looker, the specs are unfortunately midrange. Packed inside is an LTE-capable Snapdragon 400 quad-core SoC clocked at 1.2GHz, 1.5GB RAM, 8GB storage space and Android 4.4.2. The battery packs 2040mAh. Some extras include a Harman Kardon sound effects engine, “LiveStage” streaming, and compatibility with the Harman Kardon ONYX Studio Bluetooth speaker.
While pre-orders will begin tomorrow, the phone will be released in the US on August 29.
With the merger between Sprint and T-Mobile in limbo due to Iliad’s massive offer, SoftBank has decided to move on. Re/code is reporting that SoftBank, the majority owner of Sprint, is hiring Marcelo Claure as the carrier’s next chief executive officer. This comes on the heels of word spreading that Dan Hesse would be on his way out and both moves are expected to be made official on Wednesday.
As Sprint edges closer to a merger deal with T-Mobile, sources say the parties involved are bracing for a longer than expected approval process. This has triggered lenders to seek higher fees as part of the financing deals. Both Softbank, Sprint’s controlling shareholder, and T-Mobile shareholder Deutsche Telekom AG expect the regulatory approval process to take at least 12 months. Building in some cushion to the schedule, it is expected a drop-dead date will be set for around 18 months after an official announcement is made.
It’s not exactly a well-kept secret that Sprint is interested in acquiring T-Mobile since SoftBank took over the carrier last year. However, in a recent television interview, Sprint chairman Masayoshi Son publicly stated that he would absolutely love to try and purchase the Uncarrier. He did clarify that at this point in time, Sprint hasn’t made an offer for T-Mobile. They’re still working closely with banks and antitrust authorities to try to get the finer details worked out before moving forward with any kind of deal.
A report from the Wall Street Journal today indicates Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son and Sprint CEO Dan Hesse are scheduled to meet with the FCC. Sources indicate that one of the topics of discussion is a possible merger with T-Mobile. During January, it was revealed that Sprint obtained some proposals from different banks that demonstrated how a merger of the two carriers could be made to work financially. That would only be one hurdle to be jumped if the merger is ever going to happen. It is looking more and more like regulatory approvals will be the bigger problem, which would be a good reason for the two CEOs to spend some time during a face to face meeting with FCC officials to discuss the merger.
According to different sources, the Department of Justice appears reluctant, if not being outright against the idea, to see the number of “major” carriers being reduced from four down to three. SoftBank and Sprint are likely to counter that argument by pointing out that Verizon and AT&T are the heavyweights in the market and the weakness of the third and fourth largest carriers is actually hurting competition, a situation that could be corrected by allowing the merger to occur. By meeting with the FCC, SoftBank/Sprint may also be able to get a government agency on board with the concept to help in the battle with the Department of Justice.
It wouldn’t be that easy for Sprint to buy T-Mobile, right? According to Reuters, Dish Network may want in on the bidding war for the nation’s self-proclaimed ‘uncarrier’. Dish reportedly wants to expand its reach beyond the pay TV industry. They are so serious about buying T-Mobile that they spoke with its parent company, Deutsche Telekom AG.
Another day, another Snapdragon 800-powered Android smartphone. Sharp announced their latest flagship offering for Japanese carrier Softbank, called the Aquos Xx, and it’s got specs to compete with any other phone on the market. You get the de facto standard flagship processor, a Snapdragon 800, 2 GB of RAM, a full 1080p, 5.5-inch screen, and a 16.3 megapixel rear camera. On top of that, it sports an incredible thin bezel. As of right now, it’ll only be available in Japan this December, but depending on how it sells, it’s possible we could see it in other markets.
During a recent conference call to discuss the Dish Network’s disappointing second-quarter financial results, CEO Charles Ergen dropped some hints that the company is still interested in becoming a player in the wireless carrier market. During the second quarter, Dish saw its subscriber base shrink by about 78,000 subscriptions as it continued to try to compete in the changing landscape of video content. Combined with increasing programming costs, the company experienced a loss during the second quarter. In an effort to reverse course, Dish would like to capitalize on an asset it continues to hold, unused wireless spectrum. Finding a partner to make that a reality has been a challenge though as the recently company lost out to Softbank in a bid to acquire Sprint earlier this year.
Ergen seems to think there is still an opportunity for Dish and Sprint to do something together that would benefit both companies. While acknowledging that Dish “gave our best shot to get it” referring to the Sprint acquisition attempt, Ergen still thinks some kind of partnership might be “an interesting fit.” What would not be as interesting would be an attempt to acquire T-Mobile, a move Ergen says “may be a challenge we wouldn’t feel comfortable taking on.” That position is quite a bit different from earlier this year when Dish sought out a possible deal with T-Mobile.