The December 2004 subscriber stats for Japan’s cellcos came out yesterday and the year-end numbers made two points quite clear: KDDI/au beat DoCoMo for the most net adds in 2004 and and Vodafone KK is still struggling. Looking a little deeper, we note that Big D’s mass-subscriber migration to 3G is starting to kick in with almost 1 million customers coming ‘up to speed’ in December alone; meanwhile Vodafone’s live! wireless Internet service actually saw a net decrease in users last month (by 700) while the two competitors added some 200,000 users to their i-mode and EZweb services.
Excerpt below via The Independent:
Vodafone netted just 900 new customers in Japan, its biggest single market, during December, figures showed yesterday. In December, Vodafone’s biggest Japanese rival, NTT DoCoMo, had 247,500 new subscribers, and there were 241,600 more for KDDI, the second-biggest operator.
Vodafone’s chief, Arun Sarin, appointed Shiro Tsuda, a former NTT DoCoMo executive, to head its Japanese business in August. Its problems in the market have been well-flagged and the company’s shares ended the day just 0.7 per cent down. But Vodafone did sign up 69,500 customers to its new third generation services. Yet Vodafone’s 3G performance was still dwarfed by that of NTT DoCoMo, which signed up 930,000 3G customers in December giving it a total of 8.5 mn 3G users, and KDDI added 379,100 users, bringing its 3G customer base to 16.8 million. Vodafone has just 366,400 3G customers in Japan.”