Sunday, May 21, 2006

Eurotechnology Japan: SoftBank Mobile

Gerhard Fasol at Eurotechnology Japan blogs about Softbank's acquisition of Vodafone-Japan (Vodafone KK) and its name change to SoftBank Mobile. Fasol writes that "SoftBank's alliance with APPLE to develop iPod-mobile phones is the latest in a string of actions to take the former J-Phone back onto the growth track before Vodafone acquired it. One day after announcing the acquisition, SoftBank announced a target of 26 million subscribers (compared to today's 15 million). A few days later, SoftBank announced a five point revival program, which is now well on-track:"

  1. Continued use of mail addresses: SoftBank has learnt from Vodafone that it does not pay to force 15 million subscribers and all their friends and acquaintances to change email addresses ...
  2. Strengthen the shops and customer service: SoftBank is reversing Vodafone's store strategy - SoftBank has started to recruit full-time regular employees for it's stores, and plans to sell APPLE products and iPod phones in the stores.
  3. Rebranding - Change to an easy-to-understand and familiar company name: The brand "Vodafone" will be replaced by SoftBank Mobile.
  4. Stepping up capital investment: On Friday April 21, 2006, SoftBank announced the decision to increase the investments to YEN 250 billion to increase the number of 3G base stations from 20,000 to 30,000. This is a reversal of Vodafone's initial strategy to dramatically cut investments in Japan during it's ownership of J-Phone/Vodafone KK (for graphics of investment data by Japan's operators see our blog).
  5. Synergies with Softbank BB, Japan Telecom and YAHOO: Softbank now reunites the former Japan Telecom - which Softbank has acquired in two steps from Vodafone. First Vodafone acquired the fixed line operations via Ripplewood and now the former mobile subsidiary of Japan Telecom from Vodafone. Synergies between YAHOO-Japan and SoftBank's new mobile operations are particularly interesting and promising - think mobile auctions... now SoftBank is moving further into eBay's territory in Japan, or what is eBay's territory anywhere else in the world, except in Japan.