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SoftBank CEO to discuss US mobile industry after regulatory rebuff

Softbank Corp CEO Masayoshi Son speaks during a news conference in Tokyo February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino
Softbank Corp CEO Masayoshi Son speaks during a news conference in Tokyo February 12, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Corp CEO Masayoshi Son will present his views on the U.S. mobile industry in Washington D.C. next week, the Japanese mobile operator said, after U.S. regulators expressed skepticism towards a potential SoftBank bid for T-Mobile US Inc.

Son's presentation to lawmakers, educators and business leaders is his first public speech to a U.S. audience since SoftBank's $21.6 billion acquisition of No.3 U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Corp last year.

His comments on the competitive landscape, which have in the past been highly critical, will be watched after sources revealed that Sprint had held talks to buy T-Mobile, the fourth-largest U.S. mobile carrier.

Son harshly criticized U.S. mobile networks and the degree of competition in the industry at an earnings announcement last month in his first public comments since the T-Mobile interest emerged. Regulators had expressed skepticism about such a deal in a meeting with Son, an official said.

In an invitation dated March 3, SoftBank said Son would make a presentation on March 11 about the U.S. wireless communications industry and the competitive global landscape, as well as the crucial role of ultra-fast wireless broadband communications.

Son declined to comment at last month's earnings briefing about whether his company was in talks about buying T-Mobile, but had harsh words for the state of the U.S. mobile sector, which is dominated by AT&T Inc and Verizon Communications Inc.

"What I can say is that the United States' mobile industry is not competitive compared with other countries and its network is not good," he said.

(Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida; Editing by Edmund Klamann and Louise Heavens)

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