With merger talks officially off the table, Sprint parent company SoftBank Group said it will increase its stake in Sprint to just under 85 percent, signaling that the Japanese tech company is doubling down on the U.S. wireless market.
SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son called Sprint a "critical part" of its plan to provide ubiquitous connectivity to American consumers. With more Internet of Things and 5G devices being connected, SoftBank stressed the importance of owning a strong mobile network in the U.S. following news that the merger with T-Mobile, the second official time the two companies tried to combine, fell through once again.
"We are entering an era where billions of new connected devices and sensors will come online throughout the United States," Son said. "We are very confident in [Sprint's] future. The day will come when having Sprint will pay off."
[Related: Sprint, T-Mobile Break Off Merger Plans]
SoftBank today owns 83 percent of the Overland Park, Kan.-based carrier. The company said on Sunday will increase its stake in Sprint "through open market transactions or otherwise."
T-Mobile, which is owned by German parent company Deutsche Telekom AG, and Sprint, the third and fourth largest wireless carriers in the U.S., respectively, over the weekend squashed merger plans after the two providers were unable to reach mutually agreeable deal terms, including which company would own the majority share of the combined company.
Marcelo Claure, Sprint's CEO, said over the weekend that the carrier will continue to go solo with its existing network and spectrum assets, and will continue to upgrade and invest in its network.
Claure didn't rule out the possibility of future merger discussions, however. "As convergence in the connectivity marketplace continues, we believe significant opportunities exist to establish strong partnerships across multiple industries," he said.
Michael Bremmer, CEO of Moreno Valley, Calif.-based TelecomQuotes.com, a telecom consultancy firm, said the merger falling though is good news for anyone using a mobile device -- consumers, business users and solution providers.
"There was no benefit to anyone besides the wireless suppliers with this merger," he said. "Our mobile devices do much more and cost less than ever before because of the competition in this space."
Sprint and T-Mobile have taken on telecom giants AT&T and Verizon over the past two years by featuring heavily discounted mobile device promotions and re-introducing unlimited data plans to the wireless market.
Bremmer said that AT&T's failed T-Mobile acquisition in 2011 has led to the price wars between carriers that users of all kinds are enjoying today. The combination of Sprint and T-Mobile could have been the end of unlimited data plans and the start of data plan prices rising, he said.