Politics

Trump Takes Credit For Sprint Adding 5,000 U.S. Jobs

| by Robert Fowler

President-elect Donald Trump has announced and taken credit for the creation of 5,000 jobs added by telecommunications company Sprint and an additional 3,000 created by satellite company OneWeb.

The new investments in the American job market appear to be linked to the Japan-based SoftBank, whose CEO Masayoshi "Masa" Son had publicly pledged alongside Trump to invest $50 billion in the U.S. and create 50,000 new domestic jobs.

On Dec. 28, Trump announced the new jobs from his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida, attributing them to his election.

"I was just called by the head people at Sprint, and they are going to be bringing 5,000 jobs back to the United States," Trump said, according to ABC News. "Also OneWeb, a new company, is going to be hiring 3,000 people, so that is very exciting."

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The president-elect later told reporters: "Because of me they're doing 5,000 jobs in this country."

The new job investments by Sprint and OneWeb stem from SoftBank's pledge to provide 50,000 new employment positions overall in the U.S.

SoftBank owns an 80 percent stake in Sprint and earlier in December invested $1 billion in the startup OneWeb, which plans to erect satellites to provide far-reaching affordable internet access, USA Today reports.

A spokesperson for Sprint confirmed that the company's 5,000 new jobs "are part of the 50,000 jobs that Masa Son announced a few weeks ago but these jobs will be funded by Sprint, not SoftBank."

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Meanwhile, OneWeb chairman Greg Wyler has confirmed that his company's 3,000 new jobs are also a part of Son's overall 50,000 job pledge.

While the new jobs appear to be a direct result of Son's investment, it is not clear whether or not Trump can take credit for them.

SoftBank's $50 billion investment in the U.S. will be drawn from its $100-billion Vision Fund with Saudi Arabia, and analysts have asserted that Son would have invested half of that fund into the U.S. regardless of the outcome of the 2016 presidential election, the Los Angeles Times reports.

"Son must have intended as much as half of the Vision Fund to go to the U.S. ... But he chose this time to announce it," said SoftBank analyst Jun Tanabe of JP Morgan Securities in Tokyo.

Professor Suzuki Kazuto of Hokkaido University offered a similar assessment, asserting that SoftBank would have invested $50 billion in the U.S. even if former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton had been elected president.

"Mr. Son had already created the $100-billion fund and chose to invest $50 billion into the U.S.," Kazuto tweeted out. "I suspect he would have done this whether the winner was Trump or Hillary."

Son may also have a vested interest in providing Trump with public image victories.

In 2014, the SoftBank CEO had pursued a highly lucrative merger between Sprint and rival telecommunications company T-Mobile, but the deal was shut down by the FCC under President Barack Obama's administration. Trump, who will appoint the next FCC chairman, could install someone who is more open to the merger.

"SoftBank's original plan may come true with the new FCC chairman," said analyst Naoshi Nema of Cantor Fitzgerald.

Sources: ABC News, Los Angeles TimesUSA Today / Photo credit: Gage Skidmore/Flickr

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