Vodafone Japan rebranding to SoftBank

Vodafone quits Japan, sells Vodafone Japan to SoftBank

SoftBank replaces Vodafone brand in Japan

Vodafone quits business in Japan having sold all operations to SoftBank

Photographs below show the world famous Vodafone board on Tokyo-Shibuya’s Hachiko-square being replaced by the SoftBank advertisement from June 14, 2006.

SoftBank acquired Vodafone-Japan and rebranded to SoftBank mobile on June 14, 2006
SoftBank acquired Vodafone-Japan and rebranded to SoftBank mobile on June 14, 2006

Cheese phones anyone?… Vodafone “cheese phone” and “car tire phone” posters replaced by SoftBank posters on Tokyo’s Yamanote Line

Vodafone had difficulties to manage the relationships with Japanese mobile phone manufacturers, and as a consequence Vodafone’s pipeline of new mobile phone models dried up, while competitors KDDI and Docomo of course continued to introduce seasonal spring, summer, autumn and winter collections of attractive 3G phones which many special functions such as location services, GPS, color screens, autofocus cameras – functions which at that time were only available in Japan and nowhere else globally.

Since Vodafone had few attractive phones, Vodafone switched to covering old models with cheese, mint ice cream and car tire plastic covers to give them a new outside make-up. Of course this course contributed to the exodus of subscribers from Vodafone to competing customers, which eventually led to the sale of Vodafone-Japan to SoftBank, which turned around the former Vodafone-Japan company within a few months.

Rebranding advertisement boards along Tokyo's Yamanote ring line
Rebranding advertisement boards along Tokyo’s Yamanote ring line. Noteworthy are the cheese, cow, car tire and ice cream bar shaped mobile phone covers, which Vodafone offered because it was short of new phone models, and which did not help to improve Vodafone’s brand in Japan – cheese phones anyone?

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