A quick post to set the record straight. All too many times we have heard the urban legend that goes something along the lines that SoftBank brought the iPhone to Japan and that move directly translated into winning the so-called monthly net addition subscriber wars. However, the actual results – using official numbers from the TCA – paints a rather different picture.
Starting in September 2006, as SoftBank took control of then long ailing Vodafone – who ran a continued distance third previously, the first and most important bump came in January 2007 when the company introduced an aggressive flat-rate price plan. By May 2007 SoftBank was winning more net additions going forward for the Next 14 Consecutive Months BEFORE the first introduction of iPhone in Japan, which finally happened in July 2008.
The key point: customers shop with their wallets, even in Japan. The 25% downward trend in monthly ARPU over these last six years clearly shows, while attractive hardware has certain value in customer churn, the cost / benefit for services offered rates careful consideration.
Trust this food for thought post serves notice to certain players, both in Japan and America, who might prefer to pretend otherwise. Kindly suggest you govern future actions accordingly. As we’ve noted here in the past: SoftBank Mobile – Not Your Typical Telco.
Filed Under: Editors Note
Update October 31st:
Nice to see Son-san confirm above – see the 20-minute timeline – during the SoftBank Q2 Earnings FY2013 Presentation today.