Trump hails Sprint plan to add US jobs

US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from the media after a day of meetings on Dec 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.
US President-elect Donald Trump answers questions from the media after a day of meetings on Dec 28, 2016 at Mar-a-Lago in Palm Beach, Florida.PHOTO: AFP

NEW YORK (NYTIMES) -  President-elect Donald Trump took credit on Wednesday (Dec 28) for a decision by Sprint to add 5,000 jobs in the United States as he tried to deliver on his promise to force corporate America to focus on job creation at home rather than abroad.

“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 told reporters at his Mar-a-Lago estate in Florida. “They have taken them from other countries. They are bringing them back to the United States.” 

The announcement followed a meeting that Trump had this month with Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of Japan’s SoftBank, which said it would invest US$50 billion (S$72.5 billion)  in the United States and create 50,000 positions.

SoftBank owns a controlling stake in Sprint, the mobile phone carrier, and is a major investor in OneWeb, a satellite startup that Trump said Wednesday would create an additional 3,000 US  jobs.

It was not clear whether the combined 8,000 jobs were part of that 50,000 commitment from Son.

Although Trump claimed credit for SoftBank’s US$50 billion investment in the United States, those plans predated the election, and Son has owned a controlling stake in Sprint, among other companies, for several years.

Since the election, Sprint shares have risen nearly 40 per cent, partly on hopes that it could be acquired by its rival T-Mobile.

While antitrust officials under President Barack Obama have been wary of deals in the telecom sector, Son and investors are hoping the Trump administration might look more favourably on any potential deal.

In January, as part of a restructuring effort, Sprint cut 2,500 jobs in call centers across the United States and at its headquarters in Overland Park, Kansas.

On Wednesday, the company said in a statement that it would be creating or bringing back jobs in a variety of departments, including customer care and sales, and that all would be added by the end of its 2017 fiscal year. It was not clear where in the country those jobs would be.

“We are excited to work with President-elect Trump and his administration to do our part to drive economic growth and create jobs in the US,” said Marcelo Claure, Sprint’s chief executive.