Masayoshi Son, Japanese internet billionaire and recently a major owner of United States mobile carrier Sprint Nextel Corp., once again showed his tempestuous nature as he argued with Japanese government officials from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications regarding the allocation of national communications bandwidth to a competitor, a network spectrum his company also applied for to use. Son, CEO of Japanese mobile carrier SoftBank, reportedly got into a 50-minute shouting match with ministry bureaucrats, showing again his famous temper and tendency toward outbursts if he finds a situation disagreeable.
“This is the first time in years that I got so angry,” Son said at a news conference after the meeting. “And I thought I had grown up,” he added. One of Japan’s richest men, Son is famous for these verbal incidents. The billionaire once threatened to set himself in flames in the offices of the communications ministry unless state-owned carrier Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp. sped up its work to provide connectivity for SoftBank’s Internet network infrastructure.
In this case, the ministry has reportedly decided to allocate an additional 20 megahertz of bandwidth to SoftBank’s competitor KDDI Corp. – Japan’s second largest carrier — for use in its data communications infrastructure. Son is incensed that SoftBank had also applied for usage of the same bandwidth but its application was denied. Son revealed that Telecommunications Bureau Director-General Hiroomi Kira had made it clear to him that a decision had already been made. Son then demanded that the communications regulator hold a public hearing to allow both SoftBank and KDDI to present their plans in developing the said spectrum. “This decision to allocate spectrum–which belongs to the people–was made behind closed doors” without a hearing or a close examination of whether KDDI is fully utilizing the bandwidth, Son said in a news conference after his confrontation with the ministry.
KDDI has so far declined to comment on this situation. Yusuke Takada, an official at the communications ministry, denied that the decision had been made by their office, saying that the regulatory council had the responsibility of doing that. He also denied Son’s accusations that those former ministry officials at now working at KDDI had caused the ministry to favor SoftBank’s competitor. Son ultimately said that he is prepared to bring this issue to the courts. This is not strange for Son, as in 2005, SoftBank sued the ministry over a decision to allocate frequencies in the 800-megahertz band to rivals NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI, rejecting SoftBank’s application.
[via Wall Street Journal]
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