The latest subscriber figures were announced today with good news for SoftBank Mobile and what must be disappointing results for DoCoMo while KDDI continues to lead the pack in over-all performance again in January. We had mentioned that many industry watchers were expecting SoftBanks new flat-rate voice plan – announced in early January – would have an positive impact, and it certainly did. Most surprising was the small month-on-month loss of i-mode customers, the second time in 3 months, for the incumbent.
SBM, the former Vodafone Japan operator, added 150,000 new customers in January for approx. 30% increase over their totals in December against DoComo’s 7,000 new subs compared to nearly 90,000 for big D in the previous month. It’s also the second time since number portability that DoCoMo posted a net loss (-2,400) i-mode subscibers which had gained +67,000 in December 2006. As mentioned, DoCoMo’s numbers for March and April should improve dramatically considering their latest handset line-up and increased marketing campaigns.
The success story continues to be KDDI’s Au offering. The company has consistently out-performed the competition with yet another month of impressive new subscriber additions at +208,400 *the company gained over 430,000 new contracts however their Tu-Ka unit lost just over 230,000* while the EZ-Web portal added 260,600.
One last note of interest, if we include the rapidly declining subscribers of KDDI’s Tu-Ka division (-233,000 in January to total 1.2mln) and DoCoMo’s PHS network which is not accepting new contracts and on-track to shutting down (-23,000 to 506,800 users) the grand total of mobile phone contracts in Japan tipped over the 100 mln mark last month! Full details via: Telecom Carriers Assoc.