Sprint’s regular telephone conference with analysts Wednesday ended a bit sooner than its chairman, Masayoshi Son, had wanted.
“Let me add just one more thing,” Son could be heard saying after CEO Marcelo Claure had wrapped up the session with a promotion of the Sprint 1Million Project. “People ask me about the …”
Suddenly, the line opened up and voices of the many analysts listening to the call were competing with interference noises and music. The chairman’s comments were either lost or he gave up.
Son normally doesn’t take part in the quarterly session between analysts and Sprint’s management in Overland Park. The company had highlighted before the event that Son would take part this time, and he connected from offices in San Francisco.
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His role sparked interest and triggered expectations. The company’s chairman also is CEO and founder of Tokyo-based SoftBank Group Corp., which owns more than 80 percent of Sprint’s shares.
Son’s prepared comments early in the call had focused on Sprint’s plans to improve its network and his attention to keeping costs in line as those changes roll out.
Claiming Sprint’s voice service already is first or second in markets across the country, Son said its LTE data coverage, speeds and performance “will be No. 1 or No. 2 also” after about 18 to 20 months of improvements.
“We don’t waste money. We will make this happen with the lowest cap-x (capital expenditures) compared to anybody else,” he said.
At least some wanted more.
Jennifer Fritzsche, an analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, told investors in a note after the call that she and others expected more “strategic commentary” than it heard about the network plans.
Son had repeated his previous comments that Sprint is open to any possible deal, and he added that the company could be patient in reviewing its options. Son also said he hoped regulators would be more open to a deal than they had been when Sprint first sought a merger with T-Mobile three years ago.
Whether Son planned to get back to that topic wasn’t clear, but the sudden end and another segment when Son had been disconnected led Fritzsche to comment that she “would not describe the tone of the call as overly organized or focused, to be honest.”