NTT DoCoMo profits fall as 3G costs rise

31 Jan 2007

Japanese incumbent cellco NTT DoCoMo has reported net profits of JPY403.7 billion (USD3.3 billion) for the nine months to December 2006, the first three quarters of its 2006/7 fiscal year. This is a fall of 22% on the same period a year earlier and has been put down to increased operating costs as the company attempts to get its subscribers to switch to 3G services. It also spent heavily in a bid to gain more subscribers following the introduction of mobile number portability (MNP) to the Japanese cellular market in October last year. Despite its efforts, the operator saw its quarterly churn rate go from 0.6% in the second quarter to 0.93% in the third. NTT DoCoMo had 52.2 million subscribers at the end of 2006, of which 32.1 million (61.5%) were 3G users. The cellco wants two-thirds of its customer base to be 3G subscribers by fiscal year end, when it is aiming to have installed 44,700 3G base transmitter stations (BTS), up from 30,400 on 1 April 2006.