Softbank recently announced, in Japanese only, more information about their new branding strategy to take effect on 1 October. The SoftBank Mobile portal site will change from Vodafone live! to Yahoo Keitai!, while other Vodafone live! services will change to S! services – for example, S! Mail and S! GPS Navi; even V-appli will become S!-appli. We also noticed that all new handsets will include a Y! button (like DoCoMo’s famous i-mode shortcut key) that will take users straight to the Yahoo Japan portal and other Softbank services.
Targeting the brand change to take effect just before number portability becomes available on 24 October should help them manage customer churn – notwithstanding several other (more) important factors like the new handset line up and price structure. Everyone (including WWJ, of course) will be watching how this story unfolds over the next two to three months.