Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers NTT DoCoMo reported the most net new additions in December 2011, the first time it has done so for 21 months, and in the process pushed rival Softbank Mobile into second place. NTT’s mobile arm added 429,900 net new users last month for a total of 59.624 million, buoyed by Sony’s launch of the PlayStation Vita game console in mid-December that can be connected to DoCoMo’s mobile handsets. Further, the operator also reported 490,500 people signed up to its 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) network ‘Xi’, pushing the subscriber total to more than 1.139 million.
Meanwhile, Softbank Mobile slipped to second place in December, ending an unbroken run of 20 months at the top of the net gains table. The cellco recorded 377,300 net new users for a month-end total of 27.835 million. KDDI Corp, which offers services under the banner ‘au’, slipped to third place from second in November, adding 294,300 users on a net basis for a total of 34.297 million. The country’s fourth largest cellular provider, eMobile, no longer provides the Telecommunications Carriers Association (TCA) with monthly updates following an announcement this month that – going forward – it will announce its mobile subscriber numbers on a quarterly basis to coincide with the release of its financial results.
Finally, PHS operator Willcom boosted its mobile base by a total of 47,600 to close out the year with 4.311 million connections.