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What does the SoftBank
Sprint investment mean for Ting?

We’ve received several questions about what the SoftBank / Sprint investment announced recently means for Ting and, by extension, other MVNOs.

At Tucows, we work with thousands of resellers around the world and we manage millions of domain names. We understand the importance of the partner / provider relationship so when we looked for a carrier network to partner with in order to pursue Ting, we chose very carefully. Sprint was the right choice for a number of reasons, some of which I’ve discussed before and some we’ve explored elsewhere on the Ting blog. Sprint’s commitment to its partner MVNOs remains as strong as ever.

More importantly, I believe the investment will be a positive for Sprint, and therefore for us, for three reasons: Better leadership, better capitalization and a more global focus.

Leadership:

SoftBank is, at its roots, an Internet company. Masayoshi Son rose to prominence in the dot-­com boom and managed to stay there. SoftBank is not a traditional telco. Their entrepreneurial spirit and Internet foundations marry perfectly with Tucows and with Ting specifically.

Capital:

Sprint was a little weak in its balance sheet. Softbank has provided capital and will allow better access to additional capital. SoftBank is a great source of thought leadership and greater capital access. The alternatives would be much more traditional players and could have potentially held greater risk. The less traditional the player, the better it is for us in my view. This capital access also comes with great LTE experience and expertise.

Global focus:

Finally, SoftBank is more global in focus. We are small but very global with partners in over 120 countries around the world. As things evolve, having a global player like SoftBank as a partner makes it more likely that we will be able to think globally when it comes to Ting and mobile. This will help all Ting customers.

I note that the incumbent major mobile carriers are very influential and can present a story angle to the media to cast doubt on the wisdom behind the SoftBank/Sprint investment. In fact, I’m pretty sure I can can already hear the spin machine coming up to full RPM. I would not at all be surprised to see some nasty negative stories over the next couple of weeks, but from our perspective we like the potential that this new relationship brings.

As always, questions and comments are welcome.

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