Sprint Corp. CEO Marcelo Claure headed to Japan Monday amid changes at Sprint’s Tokyo-based parent company that reflect its global reach.
Claure posted a photo on Twitter to announce his trip “to visit my big boss” and complete Sprint’s latest network investment plans.
The Overland Park-based wireless carrier said last week it plans to add many more wireless towers and smaller cellular sites to boost its network’s performance and take advantage of wireless resources it has yet to fully deploy.
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Since mid-2013, Sprint has been controlled by Tokyo-based SoftBank Corp. and its founder, Masayoshi Son, who hired Claure to run Sprint last August.
Son, in Tokyo Monday, announced plans to change his company’s name and elevate the future role of a former Google Inc. executive, Nikesh Arora, he hired last year.
SoftBank Corp., which owns 80 percent of Sprint, will become SoftBank Group Corp. on July 1. The small change reflects the company’s shift from a Japanese company with global assets to a global company, according to its announcement.
Son, SoftBank’s 57-year-old founder and chief executive, also named Arora as a top candidate to succeed him, according to a report from Bloomberg News. Arora had joined SoftBank last July and became a director of Sprint last fall.
“SoftBank is now entering a second stage,” Son said, according to the report. “The globalization of SoftBank is the responsibility of Nikesh (Arora), my biggest partner.”
Sprint poses a challenge to Son’s plans to look beyond Japan for growth. SoftBank had plans to acquire and merge T-Mobile US Inc. with Sprint but backed away after U.S. regulators balked at the idea.
The two U.S. wireless companies are nearly the same size in number of subscribers though T-Mobile has grown substantially in the last two years as Sprint has struggled to stay ahead. Sprint also has lost money and faces large investments in its network and wireless resources.
Son last August named Claure, an immigrant entrepreneur who built a $10 billion cellphone distribution company in Miami, to become Sprint’s chief executive.
Claure has embraced price cuts and phone leasing deals to turn around the company’s subscriber trends. He has cut 3,700 Sprint jobs and more than $1.5 billion in expenses to help stanch its financial losses.
Despite Sprint’s losses, SoftBank on Monday reported a quarterly profit of $738 million, up from nearly $170 million a year ago, on revenue of $18.6 billion, up 6.7 percent.
To reach Mark Davis, call 816-234-4372. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter @mdkcstar.