Interview with Businessweek Editor David Rocks about Masayoshi Son and Japan’s telecom sector

Source iPhone 3G Masayoshi Son Masaru Kamikura

Businessweek Editor David Rocks: “if you would meet Masayoshi Son, what would you ask him?

Businessweek Editor David Rocks came three weeks to Japan to report on Japan’s telecommunications and technology sectors, arrived Friday and took me for dinner Friday night. A few days later David Rocks called me during my lunch break and asked me: “if you would meet Masayoshi Son, what would you ask him?” Turned out David was going to interview SoftBank Founder and CEO Masayoshi Son a about an hour later. I proposed three questions. Later David Rocks called me back, and told me Masayoshi Son’s answers, which are enclosed here as well.

My question: Are rumors true, that Masayoshi Son threatened to set himself on fire inside the Japanese Post- and Telecommunications Ministry, in case he is denied a telecommunications license he had applied for?

Masayoshi Son’s answer (as told to me by David Rocks): Yes, these rumors are true, however I did not take any fuel along with me inside the Ministry

My question: I wish Europe would have someone like Masayoshi Son to accelerate innovation in Europe’s telecommunications sector. Do you have plans to expand SoftBank to Europe?

Masayoshi Son’s answer (as told to me by David Rocks): No plans for Europe at this time.

My question: How can you finance your plans to grow your business? Who are your financial backers?

Masayoshi Son’s answer (as told to me by David Rocks): We have sufficient finance to grow SoftBank’s business.

The headline of David Rock’s article “Setting fire to the cell-phone market”, published on October 31, 2004 in Businessweek is based on my first question.

Learn more about SoftBank, Masayoshi Son, and his 30/300 year vision for SoftBank

Report on “SoftBank today and 300 year vision” (approx 120 page, pdf file)
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Japan telecommunications industry report – Preview an outline:

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Copyright notice:

The photograph of Masayoshi Son is used under Creative Commons license according to Wikipedia.
Copyright details are:
Description English: Masayoshi Son on July 11, 2008
Date 11 July 2008, 12:11:02
Source iPhone 3G Masayoshi Son Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/photos/kamikura/2658524938/)
Author Masaru Kamikura (http://www.flickr.com/people/20119192@N00) from Japan
This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic
(https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/deed.en) license.

Copyright (c) 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Prepaid phones to be outlawed in Japan (see update below!)

The government coalition in Japan is preparing a law to outlaw prepaid mobile phones. The reason given is that too many prepaid phones are used for crimes, e.g. the “ore ore” fraud.

The number of prepaid phones in Japan is very small, but it’s not equally distributed. DoCoMo has almost no prepaid users, and has announced to abolish this service. Vodafone has about 10% prepaid users, and TuKa about 20% – so these will suffer when prepaid phones are outlawed.

Prepay phones as a ratio of all mobile phones in Japan compared to Europe and Italy
Prepay phones as a ratio of all mobile phones in Japan compared to Europe and Italy

Update: on 12 November 2004 the ruling coalition decided on a draft law, which will not outlaw prepaid mobile phones, but will make identification requirements more strict. (See update above)

Find an updated market analysis with statistics of Japan’s prepay mobile market in our report on Japan’s telecoms industry sector

Copyright·©1997-2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

SonyEricsson design team presentation & discussion

The SonyEricsson mobile phone design team gave a very impressive presentation of their work at the Swedish Embassy yesterday.

Here is Art Director Mr Kawagoi, who created the famous SonyEricsson logo, explaining the messages contained in his creation:

SONY-Ericsson Design Director explaining his thoughts behind creating the SONY-Ericsson logo
SONY-Ericsson Design Director explaining his thoughts behind creating the SONY-Ericsson logo

Here Swedish Managers of the SonyEricsson Creative Design Center from Lund/Sweden:

SONY-Ericsson presentation at the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo
SONY-Ericsson presentation at the Embassy of Sweden in Tokyo

My conclusion: expect a lot more great designs out of SonyEricsson. Also, there is every indication it’s a very successful Japan-Swedish cooperation.

[images in this post are taken with a DoCoMo/Sharp SH900i 3G/FOMA camera-phone in 2Megapixel setting, and sent through the air via DoCoMo’s FOMA network. Images are reproduced here in much less than the original 1224 x 1632 pixel size, which would not fit on most PC screens.]

Copyright·©1997-2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Version 8 of the "i-Mode report"

Completed version 8 of the “i-Mode Report” (260 pages, 45 figures, 120 photographs, and 25 tables)

Main changes and additions:

updated most statistics and graphs
added a section on mobile games on i-mode
updated the international section
updated the 3G section
updated the i-mode-FeliCa wallet-phone section
corrected many errors
updated the section on Japan’s telecom landscape: added recent transactions, and updated graphics

Copyright·©1997-2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Ig Nobel Prize for Peace to the inventor of Karaoke

There is a saying the that the Prophet is not recognized within his/her own country – and I think that the inventor of Karaoke, Inoue Daisuke (井上 大佑) is not as famous in his own country as he deserves – but he was now recognized for his outstanding invention by the “Ig Nobel Prize” committee in the PEACE category.

This years Ig Nobel Peace Prize was awarded on September 30, 2004 to Inoue Daisuke, for inventing karaoke, thereby providing an entirely new way for people to learn to tolerate each other.

“Karaoke” means “empty orchestra” (KARAOKE = KARA (= empty) + OrKEstra).

The Ig Nobel Peace Prize is one of the IG Nobel Prizes, awarded annually by the Journal “Annals of Improbable Research” at MIT.

Copyright·©1997-2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Vodafone not so big in Japan – The Economist says

Vodafone quits Japan, sells Vodafone Japan to SoftBank

The Economist looks at Vodafone’s real situation in Japan’s very advanced and hyper-competitive telecommunications market

Vodafone not so big in Japan: Vodafone is struggling to catch up with Docomo’s introduction of 3G in Japan

An article in The Economist about Vodafone is partly based on our analysis:

Vodafone not so big in Japan: “Vodafone- Not so big in Japan” (The Economist, Sept 30th, 2004)

Understand Softbank: our report: “SoftBank today and 300 year vision”

pdf file, approx 120 pages, 47 figures 18 photos, 7 tables
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Copyright·©1997-2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Prepaid mobile phones in Japan…

Prepaid mobile phones are a huge business in Europe.

In Japan prepaid mobile phone numbers are tiny, and NTT’s new CEO just announced that NTT-DoCoMo is planning to stop offering prepaid mobile phones altogether.

Find detailed statistics and market shares per operator for Japan’s prepaid market in our report on Japan’s telecommunications sector.

Copyright·©1997-2013 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Cable & Wireless Japan acquired by Softbank???!!

SoftBank and Masayoshi Son

Cable & Wireless Japan staged what it said was one of the first “hostile” takeovers in Japan, but then proved to be unable to manage the company they had acquired

Today’s top article in Nikkei is about Cable and Wireless-Japan: the article reports that Cable and Wireless is in discussion with Softbank and a private equity firm to sell their Japan operations. Apparently this news article is not confirmed, and it already mentions a purchase prize on the order of US$ 100 million. This article appeared in the top position in Nikkei – but there are several things a bit mysterious about it.

Cable & Wireless Japan – why did they fail in Japan?

I did not follow Cable and Wireless recently in Japan, but it seems that C&W made a loss of YEN 61.6 OKU on sales of YEN 713 OKU, i.e. almost 10% loss.
Since we are insiders in Japan’s telecom sector, we know most of the details. To out it into short words, Cable & Wireless did not have the knowhow to manage a Japanese company. They tried but failed, and alienated a lot of people.

Spent all morning discussing with one of the innovation managers of a big European telco. Interesting. Spent afternoon with a US bio-tech company which which is thinking of asking us to build their business in Japan, and in the evening listened to a talk by Tadashi Onodera, the CEO of KDDI. Expected him to talk mainly about mobile – but he did not. His focus was a national VOIP network they are building, attacking the fixed line income of NTT. Got hold of him after his talk and discussed with him for about 10 minutes.

UPDATE: on October 26, 2004, Softbank announced the acquisition of Cable & Wireless IDC. Total cost of the acquistion is announced as YEN 12.3 billion (= US$ 110 million)

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