Shares in Japanese telecoms group Softbank Corp fell sharply for the first time in four months after the Nikkei daily revealed a government proposal that would make it easier for mobile users to switch network provider in favour of the country’s largest operator by subscribers, NTT DoCoMo. Softbank, which owns the third largest cellco by subscribers, dipped 3.9% on the Tokyo Stock Exchange – its biggest single fall since 27 November, while by contrast NTT DoCoMo’s share price climbed 0.8%. According to the Nikkei newspaper, the government is looking to unveil guidelines – maybe as soon as this summer – to allow mobile users to switch providers without changing handsets.
In a separate development NEC Corporation has announced that it has started shipping wireless base stations for DoCoMo, which is looking to launch Long Term Evolution (LTE) services in December this year. Last month, CommsUpdate reported that Fujitsu also began shipping next generation mobile base station systems to DoCoMo ahead of its planned LTE launch. The NTT unit picked Fujitsu in October 2006 as a vendor to develop and manufacture the company’s LTE wireless mobile base stations.