Vodafone has revealed it is in talks about selling its struggling Japanese phone business to internet and telecoms provider Softbank. Its Japanese subsidiary has been losing customers in the face of fierce competition from domestic operators such as NTT DoCoMo and KDDI. “Vodafone confirms it is in discussions regarding a potential sale of a controlling interest in Vodafone Japan to Softbank,” the company said in a statement. “These discussions may or may not lead to a transaction.”
See our Vodafone’s Japan Exit: Thinking the Unthinkable dated Feb. 2005 — Eds.
Telecoms analysts said Vodafone’s Japanese difficulties had frustrated both its management and shareholders. “Vodafone would shed a unit that it just doesn’t seem able to fix and which certainly does not fit within the profile of the Vodafone investment portfolio,” said Ovum’s Robin Hearn of the mooted sale.
Although Vodafone still has nearly 15 million customers in Japan, its customer base has shrunk over the past year amid tough competition and a poor reception for its 3G service. Profits fell sharply in the past six months while revenues were flat. Softbank secured a licence to operate a mobile phone business last year. Continue