Vodafone KK facing customer crisis

7 Feb 2005

The Japanese arm of UK cellco Vodafone saw its total subscriber base fall by almost 59,000 to 15.15 million last month, the same level as September 2004, as customers failed to warm to the range of third-generation (3G) phones the group introduced across all of its worldwide operations just prior to Christmas. Analysts have blamed the subscriber apathy on the fact that Vodafone’s new terminals lack some basic functions deemed vital to the Japanese market, such as predictive texting in the Japanese language. Although Vodafone KK added almost 161,000 new 3G customers in January (taking its 3G total to over 527,000), this was well below the 817,400 new 3G customers added by dominant carrier NTT DoCoMo, and was not enough to offset losses on Vodafone’s 2G network, which ended the month with 14.625 million connections, down almost 220,000 from the end of December 2004.

Japan, NTT DOCOMO, SoftBank Corp