Softbank logo (full size)

It’s official. Sprint Nextel is now simply Sprint Corporation, as SoftBank completes its high-profile buyout of the wireless provider. Japan’s third-largest carrier now owns a controlling stake in the United States’ third-largest carrier. Fitting, isn’t it?

The deal, which has been in negotiations since last fall, is worth some $21.6 billion. $5 billion of it is being used as a cash infusion to take on future projects, and the other $16.6 billion is going to Sprint shareholders. And Nextel? It’s gone for good…

Reuters reports:

“Analysts expect Japan’s SoftBank, an aggressive competitor in its home market, to make big changes at Sprint once its takeover of the U.S. mobile service provider closes on Wednesday. They say Sprint needs an overhaul after years of customer losses that have hurt its bottom line.

Softbank founder Masayoshi Son told Reuters in April that he was preparing a “secret weapon” to revive Sprint – a “very innovative product, innovative service that no other carriers in the world are preparing.”

First things first, though. SoftBank’s top priority is expanding Sprint’s wireless capacity with spectrum gained from the Clearwire buyout that was finalized yesterday. Vice chairman Ron Fisher told Retuers that “until one has a network that really provides the kind of service we all look for, that’s the most critical thing.”

sprint store

That’s actually really good news for Sprint customers, considering what they’ve had to put up with over the years. The carrier’s 3G network has long been criticized for its speed and consistency, and its nationwide LTE rollout is moving painfully slow.

And it’s even better news for Sprint itself. The wireless provider has had a rough last several years, failing to merge its network with Nextel after a pricey buyout, and betting on the wrong horse in the 4G race. Its future isn’t cemented, but at least it’s bright.

It’ll be interesting to see what SoftBank does with Sprint. It’s obviously extremely confident in its game plan, outlasting Dish Network in a bidding war for the company, and the carrier’s potential. It says it does not have any immediate plans for major layoffs.

  • n0ahcruz3

    Im curious about that “secret weapon” of theirs. Im thinking a smartphone that transform into gundam lol

  • blastingbigairs

    I still can’t decide to leave them or not in December when my plan is up. I hate the spotty LTE and their slow tower upgrade process, but their pricing is very good. Verizon is looking more and more attractive with the LTE coverage everywhere in San Diego.

    • Ricky Rodriguez

      go t-mobile

    • billz310

      yea go tmobile. i got with them in april with the iphone 5 and haven’t had one complaint. LTE reception is steady and the price is i think is either the same or even cheaper than sprint plus theres no contract 😉

  • Antzboogie

    How could the US keep letting other countries buy our American owned companies out? SMH!

    • Al

      Because some American companies can’t or don’t know how to get Sprint out of the basement. We may not like it, however if SoftBank can pull it off then more power to them.

      • Antzboogie

        Theres too many corrupt people at the top. Sprint should have enough money to keep them afloat. Why are all the rich companies and people always complaining their broke they know the truth.

      • Al

        What does being rich have to do with anything? Everyone knew Sprint was struggling to keep customers. And this is the result of not keeping up with the times and customers demands. Being a rich company is irrelevant .

      • Antzboogie

        Your funny being rich and stupid is like having enough money to save your company and acting like you dont have it.

      • Al

        It’s called using a bad business model. That’s what’s funny! Your smart enuff to be in business but not smart enuff to offer a product that customers want? Plus who said they have the money?

  • ChemicalDeath

    We need a little infusion of speed (soon) here in Zip Code 85635-85650 PLEASE!