Japan’s third largest mobile carrier by subscribers, Softbank Mobile, won more net new additions than either of its bigger rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI Corp for the 14th month running, according to data published by the Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA), Japan. Softbank Corp’s mobile unit has been capturing more users than its rivals thanks to its aggressive marketing campaigns and low-cost tariff plans, and stands to receive a further boost when it unveils Apple’s iPhone on the domestic market on 11 July. The cellco signed up a net 158,900 new users in June to end the month with 19.111 million subscribers, while DoCoMo added 84,200 (to 53.628 million) and KDDI managed just 12,000 additional users on a net basis to end June with 30.304 million customers. Fourth placed eMobile, part of the eAccess Group, reported a net 47,700 new users to end June with a total of 603,100, and PHS operator Willcom was broadly unchanged at 4.614 million.
In a separate story, Softbank Mobile intends to shut down its 2G mobile services in the 1500MHz band on 31 March 2010, the Nikkei daily reports. Softbank currently has more than 4.1 million subscribers on the 2G network, all of whom will be encouraged to migrate to 3G. DoCoMo shut down its own 2G service in the 1500MHz band at the end of last month. The Japanese government intends to re-allocate the 1.5GHz spectrum to 4G providers from April 2010.