With the latest Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA) figures in for January, the success of DoCoMo’s new 900i series looks like the best hope for the company to overturn four months of KDDI dominance in picking up subscribers. TCA figures for Jan. 31 2004 indicate that KDDI again proved overwhelmingly popular, with the company picking up 500,100 CDMA 2001x subscribers (against a loss of 268,100 CDMAOne subs) against FOMA’s 132,600 increase and Vodafone’s 11,100 W-CDMA subs.
Accounting for the fact that KDDI customers automatically upgrade to 1X and drop One when they swap phones, KDDI’s gain of 232,000 is still impressive, while DoCoMo lost -69,000 PDC customers, meaning that its net gains for the month were reduced to 63,700 vs. Vodafone’s of 64,100!
If ever there was proof that KDDI’s flat rates, plus features such as personal navigation and FM radio reception are big winners with the Japanese public, this is it. WWJ viewers should also note that Ezweb subscriber growth was almost double that of i-mode, with KDDI raking in 245,600 to I-mode’s 128,3000.
With Vodafone still seeming stalled, it appears that DoCoMo’s launch of the 900is may well be an early test case for FOMA as it attempts to move W-CDMA out of the first/fast adopter segment and into the mainstream.
– The Editors