Hard Times May Come For Softbank After KDDI Gets iPhone5

Some days ago we reported KDDI may distribute the next iteration of the iPhone. Now the reactions are coming: Goldman Sachs predicts hard times may come for Softbank [J], Softbank falls a 5% at Tokyo Stocks Exchange.

Softbank, with a 21% share of the market, is the third leading mobile service provider in Japan, trailing NTT DoCoMo (48%) and KDDI (27%). Although the company won a major advantage by being the country’s exclusive iPhone distributor, its relatively poor coverage area and services have come into question lately, leading many to state that if another carrier stepped up to ship the iPhone, they would switch without hesitation.

KDDI, under its new CEO Takashi Tanaka, has recovered some of its lost fighting spirit. They introduced Skype preinstalled in all their phones; and in August they were the first to introduce Windows Phone in Japan. Now, with the iPhone 5, probably a lot of the young people who moved to Softbank will come back to their old provider.

Meanwhile, Masayoshi Son (Softbank CEO) announced in the next 2 years they are planning to invest 2,000 billion yen in order to improve their infrastructures. DoCoMo is pushing hard with their new technology LTE (also known as “Super 3G” or “3.9G”) under the Xi brand, which allows smartphone users to enjoy a a bigger volume of data and more speed. For the time being it’s only available at the center of Tokyo, Nagano and Osaka. Probably the social games devices (Sony Xperia PLAY, PS Vita and others) will help to the development of this new system.

Sources: Mainichi Shimbun [J], NTT DoCoMo

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Daniel Alías (@danialias) is CEO & Founder of ShakingAsia. He is devoted to introducing web, mobile and games companies to Japan. He is also organizer of Iniciador Tokio, a "from entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs" event. His personal blog (in Spanish) is danialias.com.

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Daniel Alías

Daniel Alías (@danialias) is CEO & Founder of ShakingAsia. He is devoted to introducing web, mobile and games companies to Japan. He is also organizer of Iniciador Tokio, a "from entrepreneurs to entrepreneurs" event. His personal blog (in Spanish) is danialias.com.

One thought on “Hard Times May Come For Softbank After KDDI Gets iPhone5”

  1. I wouldn`t bet that much on KDDI – a corp which
    1) feeds a huge pack of useless bureaucrats
    2) has a national evil – TEPCO on its board (which will probably have to sell their share in KDDI… 🙂
    3) an awful customer service – try to call their support center and ask something lol

    Besides, KDDI maybe has a wider coverage, but did they upgrade their CDMA network to something more proper for smartphones??

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