DoCoMo subscribers down for first time in five years

10 Dec 2012

Japan’s largest cellular operator by subscribers, NTT DoCoMo, has registered its first monthly drop in customer numbers in over five years, while its two closest rivals continue to grow their user bases on the back of the popularity of the Apple iPhone device, which is not offered by DoCoMo. The NTT subsidiary lost 40,800 net subscribers in November to take its total user base to 60.75 million, while second-placed operator KDDI added 228,800 customers to reach 36.58 million and Softbank was once again the fastest growing operator in the market, adding 301,900 net new users to leave its subscriber base standing at 31.05 million at the end of November.

Separately, shareholders of fourth-placed operator eAccess have approved the terms of a stock-swap deal as part of the merger with Softbank, with the deal due to be completed on 1 January 2013. eAccess will become a 100% subsidiary of Softbank. The enlarged Softbank will still be in third place in Japan’s wireless market after the merger is complete, but it will be breathing down the neck of rival KDDI.

Japan, KDDI (au), NTT DOCOMO