Japan Telecom 3Q hit hard by 3G build costs

18 Nov 2003

Japan Telecom Holdings, the country’s third-largest telco, saw its third quarter operating profit fall by 12% due to the sizeable cost of building out its 3G wireless network. Operating profit at the two-thirds-owned Vodafone subsidiary totalled JPY125.3 billion (USD1.15 billion) for the three months to the end of September, down from JPY142.76 billion the year before. The group recorded a net loss of JPY125.04 billion, mainly due to a one-off loss from the sale of its fixed line operations to US firm Ripplewood in August. The group’s recently rebranded wireless unit, Vodafone KK (formerly J-Phone), is playing catch up in the 3G race behind rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp; at the end of October it had just 88,600 3G subscribers, will behind its rival’s respective totals of 10.7 million and 1.3 million. Japan Telecom, which will be renamed Vodafone KK in December, is gambling on 3G to boost the performance of its core wireless operations.