Tag Archives: docomo


What is SoftBank’s true market share in Japan’s mobile communications market?

With SoftBank‘s acquisition of US No. 3 mobile operators Sprint and the possibility that Softbank/Sprint will also acquire No. 4 T-Mobile-USA, SoftBank and Masayoshi Son are catching global headlines.

Many press articles state SoftBank’s market share in Japan’s mobile market as 25% and say that KDDI Group has more subscribers than Softbank Group in Japan, an example is this article by Bloomberg – but is this really true?

What is SoftBank‘s true market share in Japan’s mobile communications markets?

SoftBank recently acquired eMobile/eAccess, and has been the court-appointed reconstruction partner of Willcom, after Willcom’s financial failure. Therefore eMobile/eAccess and Willcom are also part of the SoftBank group, and SoftBank plans to merge both. In addition, Wireless City Planning (WCP) are also part of the SoftBank group.

We have the following mobile operators currently in Japan – subscription market shares are shown in brackets (subscriber numbers for Docomo, KDDI and Softbank are as of February 28, 2014, while for other operators the latest officially reported numbers are used):

  • NTT Docomo Group (40.8%)
  • KDDI Group (28.9%)
    • AU
    • UQ Communications
    • fixed line and other businesses
  • SoftBank Group (30.3%)
    • SoftBank
    • eMobile/eAccess
    • Willcom
    • Wireless City Planning (WCP)
    • fixed line and other businesses
  • several virtual mobile operators, e.g. Japan Communications Inc. who lease communications capacity e.g. from Docomo and retail this leased capacity to their own subscribers

The SoftBank group including eAccess/eMobile, Willcom and Wireless City Planning has actually more than 30% of Japan’s mobile subscriber market – not 25% as some articles write.

For detailed market data, statistics and analysis of Japan’s highly competitive mobile communications market, read our market report on Japan’s telecom markets, which includes analysis and data for Japan’s wireless, fixed, ADSL and FTTH markets, and detailed financial data, analysis, and comparison of the financial performance of NTT, NTT Docomo, SoftBank and KDDI.
We are also preparing reports on Japan’s cloud and data center markets – contact us for details.

Subscriber market shares in Japan's mobile market
Subscriber market shares in Japan’s wireless communications markets for each of the competing groups: Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank.

Copyright·©2014 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·


Docomo postpones Tizen OS mobile handsets for the second time

Below are notes for an interview for the French newspaper LesEchos. The full article can be found here.

On Thursday January 16th, 2014, NTT Docomo announced the postponement of mobile phone handsets based on the TIZEN operating system. This is actually the second time that NTT Docomo has postponed the planned introduction of TIZEN handsets, so it might become doubtful whether NTT Docomo will ever introduce TIZEN handsets.

In the announcement NTT Docomo essentially said that with the current market situation in Japan, it makes no commercial sense for Docomo to introduce a third smartphone operating system to the market.

The French journal Les Echos interviewed me about Docomo’s repeated postponement of TIZEN OS handsets. Here some notes I wrote up to prepare for the interview:

  1. Both for handset makers like HTC or Samsung and it would be a dream to become independent of OS owners/controllers like Microsoft or Google, and for mobile operators like Orange or Docomo, it would be a dream to have an OS they can control, and where they can introduce their own services like Docomo’s “iconcier” personal digital assistant, which is to some extent competing with Apple’s SIRI and with various Google services. Its a dream but realization is a different story. Its not enough to make and further develop and maintain the full OS stack including UI, create a development environment and SDKs as easy to use and competitive with Apple’s and Google’s, app stores, build a developer community who create lots of apps. Its also necessary to make a critical mass of attractive devices, gain a critical mass of market share, create global scale, and most importantly win over all the most important Apps like Facebook, LINE, etc.
  2. With the dramatically increasing complexity and sheer size of software, it becomes harder to bring mobile services to market without global scaleability, or at least a major part of the world, which usually will need to include China. Docomo does not have this global scale, so it will become harder and harder for Docomo to introduce own software services, such as iMode or iConcier.
  3. Docomo has continuously lost market share and recently even net subscribers, and in December for the first time in recent memory succeeded to gain top position in subscriber gains, surely because of the iPhone. In addition, rumors are that Apple demands very high minimum sales shares of operator partners. So Docomo is under double pressure:
    1. to satisfy contract conditions with Apple
    2. to maintain subscriber gains

    in addition, Docomo still has a substantial part of “iMode-keitai”, also called “galake” (= “Galapagos keitai”). So Docomo already has a large variety of OS and handset styles, and has recently reduced the number of different handset it supports, so going to Tizen would go against this trend.

  4. Its not the end of Tizen. Tizen can in addition to smartphones also go into embedded applications such as cars, elevators, washing mashines etc.

Copyright·©2014 ·Eurotechnology Japan KK·All Rights Reserved·

Ericsson Business Innovation Forum in Tokyo

Ericsson business innovation forum – Tokyo

Ericsson held the Business Innovation Forum in the Roppongi Hills Tower in Tokyo on October 31 and November 1, 2013 delivering a great overview of the push and pull of the mobile communications industry: technology push, M2M and user pull, as well as how the mobile operators between technology and users can best make customers happy and at the same time monetize their investments, while “Over The Top” (OTT) new comers (Google, YouTube, Amazon.com, Facebook, Twitter and others) seek to disrupt the good old telecommunications world.

Here some key take-aways, read more below:

  • About 50% of global smartphone, mobile phone and mobile broadband subscriptions are in Asia-Pacific, making Asia-Pacific the most important region in the world, and Japan one of the most important LTE markets.
  • Switch from voice to data is a differentiator: forerunner telcos see rapid growth (10-12% CAGR) for both revenues and EBITDA over the period 2008-2013, while average telcos see stagnation. The key for telcos is to be a forerunner, rather than an average stagnating telco.
  • Many products such as XBOX or Apple’s SIRI are linked via networks to a data center. Networks and data centers are disruptive innovation for games and many other sectors. Maybe cars as well.
  • Open source is coming to software defined networks (SDN), the OpenDayLight community develops software for software defined networks.
  • Software defined networks create virtualized networks, SDN support “network slices” for different applications. API’s open SDNs to users.
  • Manufacturers and other industries have rationalized a long time ago, telcos have not yet rationalized, creating big opportunities.

For insights and detailed statistics read our reports on Japan’s telecom sector.

Society in transformation

Society is transformed by broad band data services.

Douglas Gilstrap, Chief Strategist, Ericsson
Douglas Gilstrap, Chief Strategist, Ericsson

Douglas Gilstrap

Chief Strategist, Chairman of BU Modems, Ericsson

Douglas Gilstrap emphasized the increasing importance of software: Ericsson today is the world’s 5th biggest software house.

Mats H Olsson, Head of Asia-Pacific, Ericsson
Mats H Olsson, Head of Asia-Pacific, Ericsson

Mats H Olsson: Overview of mobile communications in Asia-Pacific markets

Head of Asia-Pacific, Ericsson

Markets drive data consumption:

  • Japan
    • LTE Penetration: 25%
    • Smartphone Penetration: 76%
    • Mobile Penetration: 118%
  • China
    • LTE Penetration: -%
    • Smartphone Penetration: 29%
    • Mobile Penetration: 90%
  • Australia
    • LTE Penetration: 21%
    • Smartphone Penetration: 60%
    • Mobile Penetration: 134%
  • S-Korea
    • LTE Penetration: 51%
    • Smartphone Penetration: 67%
    • Mobile Penetration: 108%

LTE Markets – 5 out of 10 top LTE markets globally are in Asia-Pacific, and the top 3 are in Asia-Pacific (however this table shows the percentage penetration, does not reflect market size. In terms of market size, Japan is doubtlessly No.1:

  1. S-Korea: 51% penetration
  2. Singapore: 30%
  3. Japan: 25%
  4. USA: 23%
  5. Australia: 21%
  6. Kuwait: 16%
  7. Sweden: 13%
  8. Canada: 8%
  9. Hong Kong: 6%
  10. Austria: 6%

Mobile communications will dwarf the PC-world. By 2018 we will expect to have:

  • PCS and tablets: 260 million in APAC (31%) vs 850 million globally
  • smartphone subscriptions: 2.2 billion in APAC (49%) vs 4.5 billion globally
  • mobile broadband subscriptions: 3.5 billion in APAC (50%) vs 7 billion globally
  • mobile phone subscriptions: 4.5 billion in APAC (50%) vs 9 billion globally
Katsuya Watanabe, Deputy Director General, Information and Communications Bureau, Japan's Ministry for Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC)
Katsuya Watanabe, Deputy Director General, Information and Communications Bureau, Japan’s Ministry for Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC)

Katsuya Watanabe (Charley K Watanabe): ICT Growth Strategy for Japan

Deputy Director-General, Information & Communications Bureau, Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), Japan

Government of Japan – IT Strategic Headquarters:
The new internet world had a relatively slow start in Japan. In January 2001 the e-Japan Strategy was formed with the target for Japan to become the world’s most advanced IT nation by 2005, and the IT Strategic Headquarters where formed. In January 2006 the New IT Reform Strategy followed, and in July 2009, the i-Japan Strategy 2015.

The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) formulated the u-Japan Policy in December 2004, followed by the x-ICT Vision in July 2008.

With the change of Government in September 2009, the New Strategy in Information and Communications Technology formulated.

With the advent of Prime Minister Abe’s Government in December 2012, in June 2013, the new IT Strategy was formulated: “The world’s most advanced IT nation creation”, by the Council on ICT Strategy and Policy for Growth, which was set up in February 2013.

The Ministry focuses on the following trends: Big Data, Sensor Networks, Cloud Computing, and smart phones.

  • Mission: to be the most active country in the world.
  • Vision:
    1. Creating new value-added industries
    2. Solving social problems
    3. Improving and strengthening common ICT infrastructure
  • Issues: economic growth, employment, information transmission capacity, development of cities, super-aging society, resource problems, open innovation, cybersecurity, utilization of personal data

Prioritized projects are:

  • Creating new value-added industries:
    • data utilization
    • broadcast and contents
    • agriculture
    • local revitalization
  • Solving social problems:
    • Disaster prevention
    • Medical, nursing, health care
    • Resources
    • local revitalization

Mr Watanabe introduced several industry-academia-government collaboration projects addressing these priority issues. The economic effects by 2020 of creating new industries stimulated by these government programs are estimated as follows:

  1. super-aging society sector: 23 trillion yen (US$ 230 billion)
  2. resource sector (minerals, water, food, infrastructure): 20 trillion yen (US$ 200 billion)
  3. geospace sector: 62 trillion yen (US$ 620 billion), from today’s 20 trillion yen (US$ 200 billion) market size

A further program is the creation of ICT Smart Towns in Japan, especially also to build towns resilient against disasters.

John Rossant: A people-centric vision for future cities

Founder and Chairman of New Cities Foundation

By 2050, around 70% of the world’s population is expected to reside in urban areas.

Mobile applications transform cities, and in the ideal case create “people centric cities”, an example: AppMyCity!

Panel (left to right): Mats Olsson (Ericsson), Katsuya Watanabe (MIC), John Rossant (New Cities Foundation), Douglas Gilstrap (Ericsson)
Panel “Society in transformation”(left to right): Mats Olsson (Ericsson), Katsuya Watanabe (MIC), John Rossant (New Cities Foundation), Douglas Gilstrap (Ericsson)

Business in transformation

Jan Signell, Head of North East Asia and member of Ericsson Global Leadership Team
Jan Signell, Head of North East Asia and member of Ericsson Global Leadership Team

Jan Signell: Ericsson in Japan, China, S-Korea

Head of North East Asia Region, President of Ericsson-Japan

The first Ericsson distributor travelled to Japan in 1894 – more than 100 years ago.

Super high smartphone penetration and usage in Japan+China+S-Korea: Japan has 76% smartphone penetration, 49% of Chinese make purchases on their smartphone every week, networks have to be prepared.

Hiroyasu Asami, Managing Director of Smart-Life Business Division, NTT-DOCOMO
Hiroyasu Asami, Managing Director of Smart-Life Business Division, NTT-DOCOMO

Hiroyasu Asami: “NTT-DOCOMO’s smart-life partner initiative

Managing Director of Smart-Life Business Division, NTT-DOCOMO

NTT-DOCOMO aims to be the customer’s partner for smart-life.

In the transition from traditional feature phones to smartphones including tablets, NTT-DOCOMO sees a new potential market emerging: video, shopping, books, services and contents are booming.

The center of the mobile eco-system (and value creation) is shifting to higher layers.

NTT-DOCOMO seeks effective utilization of its business assets:

  • Postpaid subscriptions (99.7% postpaid)
  • VAS sales at mobile shops: DOCOMO has 2,400 carrier DOCOMO branded shops
  • Handset control: DOCOMO sells handsets with value added services (VAS)

DOCOMO seeks to create new markets in 8 business areas:

  1. Commerce
  2. Finance/payment
  3. Health care/education
  4. M2M
  5. Safety/security
  6. Environment/ecology
  7. Aggregation/platform
  8. Media/content

The basic concept is to bring smart life into reality, and to become a smart life partner. To improve customer satisfaction and to improve corporate value.

DOCOMO is in the process to transition from the traditional i-Mode and i-Menu services on feature phones, to d-market and d-menu for the multi-OS environment (with Google/Android, Tizen, iOS and other OS).

Revenues from new business of DOCOMO increased from US$ 4 billion (FY2011), to US$ 6 billion (FY2012) and is expected to increase to US$ 11 billion by FY2015.

Masashi Satomura, Chief Engineer Dept 3, Honda R&D
Masashi Satomura, Chief Engineer Dept 3, Honda R&D

Masashi Satomura: “ITS, Cooperative system”

Chief Engineer Dept 3, Honda R&D

About 300 parties participate in Japan’s ITS programs, lead by the ITS Promotion in the Cabinet office of Japan.

Major cooperative projects are:

  • ASV-5 (V2V, V2P) by the Ministry for Land and Infrastructure and Transport MLIT
  • Joint research (V21) by MLIT and NILIM
  • DSSS/Green wave (V21) by the Nation Police Agency

Key issues are:

  • Standardization
  • Common hardware
  • hybrid communication
  • sustainable business model
  • positioning technology

Key targets are to achieve fatality rates below 2500 by 2018, and to reduce traffic congestions to one-half by 2020 compared to 2010.

Honda develops autonomous driving with the aim to realize “the joy of mobility” with safety and freedom.

The vision: As Japan aiming for the safest transportation in the world, we hope to deploy cooperation system in collaboration with government and car OEMs, in four phases.
Phase 1: basic services
Phase 2: advanced services
Phase 3: integrated services
Phase 4: autonomous services

Panel (left to right): Akira Yamaguchi (Orient Corporation), Hiroyasu Asami (NTT-DOCOMO),Masashi Satomura (Honda), Jan Signell (Ericsson)
Panel (left to right): Akira Yamaguchi (Orient Corporation), Hiroyasu Asami (NTT-DOCOMO),Masashi Satomura (Honda), Jan Signell (Ericsson)(
Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson
Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson

Ulf Ewaldsson

CTO, Ericsson

A perfect storm:

  • Network coverage and quality is good enough
  • Business models make data affordable
  • App-centric services become mainstream
  • Smartphone penetration is reaching critical mass

however, for mobile operators there is a HUGE difference between the frontrunner’s revenue and EBITDA growth compared with stagnant revenue/EBITDA for average operators. Key for mobile operators is to be strongly growing frontrunner – not a stagnating average operator.

To move from an average no-growth operator to a fast-growing frontrunner, a mindshift is needed from:

  • problem focus to opportunity focus
  • maximizing old revenues to innovating new revenues
  • connectivity as a commodity (“dumb pipe”) to connectivity as differentiator
  • from tech silos to tech synergies

Ericsson uses six growth codes:

  1. “Streetwise metrics”, experience centric KPIs
  2. “Show casing”: quality led marketing
  3. Redefine subscription: “unboxing”
  4. Open-ended innovation: “ecosystematic
  5. Visionary collaboration: “co-partnering”
  6. Visionary investing: “gap minding”
Yung-Ha Ji, Head of Network Strategy Dept., KT Corporation
Yung-Ha Ji, Head of Network Strategy Dept., KT Corporation

Yung-Ha Ji: How to migrate to future ICT network

Head of Network Strategy Department, KT Corporation

In the IDI/ICT Global Development index ranking, S-Korea ranks 1st globally for broadband, while the Scandinavian countries rank 2nd, 3rd, 4th and 5th, and Japan ranks 8th, followed by UK on place 9.

kt will cover 99% of S-Korea’s population with LTE network based on 20MHz Bandwidth in the 1.8GHz band. With the BenchBee speed test, download speeds of 44 Mbps are achieved with a Category 4 LTE-A phone.

kt saw explosive growth of data traffic: 350 times increase over the 4 years from January 2009 to September 2013.
Monthly data usage is 2.2Gb for LTE and 1.2Gb for 3G phones. Total data traffic is about 20,000 TeraBit/Month in September 2013.

kt has the world-first LTE network using virtualization cloud technology.

kt introduced a series of services including Web-enabled IPTV, Giga-Internet FTTH premium services, olleh TV mobile, LTE broadcast, “Total Advertising Open Community” (TAOC) – using targeting of advertisements to differentiate from OTT operators.

Example of an innovative service: if you click an advertisement and watch an ad, you are rewarded with increased transmission speed.

Akira Yamaguchi: Mobile payment systems in Japan

Exec Officer Retail finance and credit cards, Orient Corporation

Jakob Navok, Director of Business Development, Square Enix
Jakob Navok, Director of Business Development, Square Enix

Jacob Navok: Games over the network

Director of Business Development, Square-Enix

Games are the ultimate application! Worldwide game industry revenues are US$77.4 billion in 2013, adding all segments from retail hardware to software and services.

Hardware used to be the driver in the past, but today the network drives everything, and networks bring disruption to game design, business models (“free-to-play” is a marketing model – not a business model). Business models include: micro transactions, subscriptions, advertisements and digital pricing.

Marketing disruption include: “free-to-play”, cross-promotional networks, and app-stores.

Video had a dramatic impact on networks, but games have not.

Interactive media bring the next revolution: SONY acquired Gaikai (US$ 400 million), and Microsoft announced Xbox Cloud services (US$ 700 million).

Server side rendering and developer innovation will create game demand on many devices.

Speed is key!

Dan Simmons, Reporter and Producer, CLICK, BBC
Dan Simmons, Reporter and Producer, CLICK, BBC

Dan Simmons

Reporter and Producer, CLICK, BBC

Dan Simmons showed how smart phones are a second screen accompanying movies, PCs and TV. 60-80% of Americans use a second screen, and 46% use a smart phone.

Eyeballs move to iPads… the question is: who owns the second screen!

CBS made US$ 10 million off advertising, but advertising ads during superball on the internet – not on TV!

TV is about raising emotions, and feedback at the moment, immediate feedback is incredibly valuable. A 2nd screen can give a 360 degrees view.

Dan mentioned the APP-movie, where visitors to the movie theatre downloaded an App to their smartphone and received message to their App during the movie. The messages need to be frame-accurate, and today’s networks are not good enough to ensure frame-accuracy. People with smartphones and using the App knew who the murderer was at 65 minutes into the movie, while visitors without smartphone and App had to wait until 80 minutes into the movie before they know who the murderer was. Initially it was thought that this could be a problem, but it turned out to be a positive part of the enjoyment for the audience. A further attraction was, that visitors could keep the App on their smartphone, and the movie owner could reach viewers long after the performance was over, and they had long left the movie theatre, keep the contact, and potentially create follow-on business.

Panel (left to right): Dan Simmons (BBC), Jacob Navok (Square-Enix), Ulf Ewaldsson (Ericsson), Yung-Ha Ji (KT Corporation)
Panel (left to right): Dan Simmons (BBC), Jacob Navok (Square-Enix), Ulf Ewaldsson (Ericsson), Yung-Ha Ji (KT Corporation)
Adrian Ionel, CEO, Mirantis
Adrian Ionel, CEO, Mirantis

Shoji Nemoto

Exec VP, SONY Corporation


Question: SONY identity in 2020?

Shoji Nemoto: Our mission is to fulfill & inspire the desires of users

Question: 3D-TV failed. How can we know that 4k-TV will be successful?

Shoji Nemoto: 3F is not only a consumer product. 4k-TV also has industrial applications, such as telemedicine and other medical applications. SONY cooperates with Olympus for medical applications.

Adrian Ionel

CEO, Mirantis

Today for every new product you need a network and a data center:

  • SIRI: Apple invested US$ 1 billion in a data center
  • X-BOX: Microsoft built a data center

Open source is extremely powerful vs closed systems:

  1. opensource is created by users, users are involved from the beginning and users are extremely powerful
  2. Open: anybody can contribute
  3. Closed source vs open source:
    • closed source: traditional hierarchical industrial structure, waterfall model, top-down
    • open source: works like nature, social network, meritocracy and transparency, very different to traditional industrial structure

Examples for open source: Linux, JAVA, Big data.

Open source creates new business models. Facebook, Google, Amazon.com are only possible with open source. Gigantic data centers are only possible with open source.

Most major players invest in open source.

Taro Kodama, Country Growth Manager, Facebook Japan
Taro Kodama, Country Growth Manager, Facebook Japan

Taro Kodama

Country Growth Manager, Facebook Japan

No. 1 Facebook employee in Japan.

“We can’t just copy what we did in Japan – we must reinvent in Japan”

  • Facebook’s complacency about mobile is surprising. Its this kind of complacency that kills companies (Forbes.com, February 2012)
  • Facebook’s future is in mobile. Mobile is THE strategy for Facebook (Forbes.com, May 2013)

Facebook: over 874 million users on mobile, 49% of revenue is now generated from mobile, up from 0% last year.

  • Connect everyone
  • Understand the world
  • Build the knowledge economy

Facebook opportunity:
Facebook: 1.1 billion users
Online: 2.4 billion
World population: 7 billion

Internet traffic is shifting to mobile: 13% of global internet traffic is on mobile.

Panel 4
Panel (left to right): Ulf Ewaldsson (Ericsson), Adrian Ionel (Mirantis), Taro Kodama (Facebook)

Innovation and technology evolution

Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson
Ulf Ewaldsson, CTO, Ericsson

Ulf Ewaldsson: “Transforming networks

CTO, Ericsson

We see cities as organisms.


  • scarce spectrum
  • simplicity and automation
  • continued traffic growth
  • from nodes to systems
  • mobile entreprise
  • blurring of IT and telecom

Concept of “Network slices”:

Network performance needs depend on industry, beyond just smartphones.

A matrix of industry needs covering the following industries: cars, processing, utilities, transport, media, and NSPS, healthcare etc.
Which have different needs for: throughput, latency, QoS, volumes, coverage, capacity, security and location.

A common network platform includes dynamic and secure “network slices” with different specifications for different industries and applications.

Three new products:

  • Ericsson Radio Dot System
  • SDN on a chip: SNP 4000
  • Cloud on a blade: Ericsson Cloud System

Technology in-depth sessions

Erik Ekudden, Head of Technology Strategies, Ericsson
Erik Ekudden, Head of Technology Strategies, Ericsson

Network Slices: Service Provider (SP) Software Defined Networks (SDN), Network Functions Virtualization (NFV) and Cloud

Erik Ekudden

Head of Technology Strategies, Ericsson

Service Provider based Software Defined Networks (SP SDN) are on the way to deployment. The path to deployment includes: technology, business model development and operations. Currently we are still midway in the technology development phase, business model development is in the early phase, and we are just before operations and deployment.

Network functions are virtualized in the DC/cloud infrastructure. Functional layers of the network are virtualized, and networks become open to developers.

Networks are elastic and we have “network slices” for different applications.


Ericsson is leading participant/founder in the open source “OpenDaylight” LINUX community, the first release of the Hydrogen Code was on September 13, 2013. OpenDayLight is an open source community developing software-defined networking (SDN).

Daniel Ehrenstrahle, Head of Strategy & Portfolio, BU Networks, Ericsson
Daniel Ehrenstrahle, Head of Strategy & Portfolio, BU Networks, Ericsson

Connecting the dots in the Networked Society

Daniel Ehrenstrahle

Head of Strategy & Portfolio, BU Networks, Ericsson

Business cases and clear rationale why technology is introduced is necessary.

We need to redefine how network performance is defined: “app coverage” defines network performance not in terms of technical data alone, but in terms of usability of each app. App coverage for video will be different than for voice, or low intensity data applications.

70% of usage is indoors, therefore we need indoor coverage, and Ericsson does not believe in Femto-technology, and introduces the Radio Dot System. Launch will be in 2H 2014 for 3G and 4G and for WiFi later. Up to 4 channels per unit.

Component based architecture:
AIR = antenna integrated unit
SSR = Edge router

Ericsson “DOT”
Ericsson Radio
Ericsson Radio “DOT” System: RJ45 Antenna Mounting Unit and Active Antenna Element taken apart
Ericsson “DOT” system, RJ45 connector socket

Monetizing the network assets

Beau Atwater

Head of Strategy and Business Intelligence, BU Support Solutions, Ericsson

Tomas Ageskog, Head of Consulting and Systems Integration, BU Global Services, Ericsson
Tomas Ageskog, Head of Consulting and Systems Integration, BU Global Services, Ericsson

Business Transformation – Ericsson Consulting and System Integration (SI)

Tomas Ageskog

Head of SI Core, IP & Media, Ericsson

Manufacturing and other industries have rationalized decades ago. Telcos are not yet rationalized.

OSS/BSS need to be good and fast to make money.

A revolution will happen in the broadcast space when processes are being rationalized.

In Australia, Telstra spent US$ 1.1 billion for a billing system.

As another example, a Tier-1 European telco operator had 62 different billing systems.


  • Business agility,
  • time to market,
  • from network centric to customer centric,
  • Next generation networks, mobile broadband and cloud computing
  • Roles in new business models and eco-systems

Ericsson Global Services division grew from SEK 29 billion and 8000 people in 2003 to SEK 97 billion and 60,000 people in 2012.

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


Growth in Japan: the SoftBank group

Mobile subscription data released last week show, that the SoftBank group continues to gain market share while incumbent NTT-docomo continues to lose market share – an upward trend for SoftBank, and a downward trend for NTT-docomo essentially unbroken since SoftBank acquired Vodafone-Japan and succeeded with the turn-round.

SoftBank’s market cap has also steadily increased recently and is now close to NTT-docomo’s, exceeding it on some days:

mobile operator Market Cap (May 10, 2013)
NTT-docomo YEN 6945 billion (US$ 68 billion)
SoftBank YEN 6688 billion (US$ 66 billion)
KDDI YEN 4162 billion (US$ 41 billion)

SoftBank group exceeds 40 million mobile subscriptions
SoftBank group exceeds 40 million mobile subscriptions

Bringing eMobile and PHS operator Willcom under its group umbrella, and by creating the new operator Wireless City Planning (WCP), Softbank group subscription numbers now exceed 40 million, and have overtaken KDDI

PHS operator Willcom registered for bankruptcy administration essentially because of the high investments in upgrading the legacy PHS network infrastructure, and is currently in corporate reconstruction with SoftBank as the reconstruction sponsor.

Wireless City Planning (WCP) is a wireless operator owned partially by Advantage Partners and SoftBank and other investors, and representing the next generation network Willcom hoped – but could not afford – to develop.

While Masayoshi Son was secretly negotiating his offer for SPRINT, he discovered that KDDI was in negotiations to acquire new entrant eMobile. While continuing the SPRINT negotiations, he was a faster decision maker than KDDI, and could win the eMobile acquisition right under the eyes of KDDI.

Since a few weeks ago, iPhones on SoftBank‘s network automatically log into both SoftBank’s and eMobile‘s LTE radio networks, greatly enhancing data transmission rates and coverage.

More in our report on Japan’s telecommunications sector

Softbank and Renewable Energy

Softbank recently also entered the renewable energy business. Read more about Softbank’s renewable energy business in our Renewable energy report (our work on Japan’s energy sector is referenced in IEEE-Spectrum here).

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


Japan’s telecom sector financial results and the Softbank-Sprint take-over battle

With SoftBank and DISH battling for US mobile operator SPRINT, the eyes are on Japan’s very healthy mobile phone sector, which a few days ago announced financial results for FY 2012. Japan’s mobile operators combined achieve about US$ 120 billion in revenues and income margins are among the highest globally.

The size, success and extremely advanced state of Japan’s mobile phone sector, SoftBank’s excellence, and Masayoshi Son’s midas touch give SoftBank the strength to go for an acquisition of SPRINT – and to aim for the large scale globalization which DoCoMo tried, but could not achieve about 10 years ago.

Japan's mobile operator revenues are about US$ 120 billion and growing
Japan’s mobile operator revenues are about US$ 120 billion and growing

Japan’s mobile operators DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank are growing steadily

Japan’s mobile phone operators are protected by government licenses, but within this scope, there is passionate competition and there are many M&A actions. With high investments in infrastructure, Japan’s mobile phone sector is among the most advanced in the world. Japan initiated the global mobile internet revolution.

Combined, Japan’s mobile operators achieve about US$ 120 billion in sales annually, and the size of Japan’s mobile industry has been growing steadily ever since mobile phones started in Japan.

The Figure above clearly shows the growth of SoftBank from a small venture to one of the world’s largest telecom operators, and the acquisition and turn-round of Vodafone-Japan.

SoftBank aims for US$ 10 billion operating income/year
SoftBank aims for US$ 10 billion operating income/year

SoftBank is on track to achieve the target of YEN 1 Trillion operating income/year by FY 2016

FY2012 financial results announced a few days ago show that SoftBank has overtaken KDDI in terms of operating profits, is on track to overtake DoCoMo and to achieve its target of YEN 1 Trillion (US$ 10 Billion) in operating profits by 2016 – this while investing heavily in infrastructure in Japan, and paying down debt remaining from the acquisition of Vodafone-Japan.

Operator Operating income/year
China Mobile US$ 24.4 Billion
Vodafone US$ 17.4 Billion
Verizon US$ 13.2 Billion
SoftBank US$ 7.5 Billion, 2016-target: US$ 10 billion

More in our report on Japan’s telecom sector

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

Post-Galapagos Japan? – globalizing Japan’s fantastic technologies…

“Why do Japanese companies make so beautiful mobile phones with fantastic functions, and have almost no global market share?” I asked this question back in 2003 to NTT-DoCoMo’s CEO Dr. Tachikawa (see my article “Leadership questions of the week” in Wallstreet Journal of June 12, 2006, page 31), and offered several proposals to Dr. Tachikawa, of which he accepted one.

A related question is: “why can Samsung, LG and Apple beat Japan’s initially far more advanced mobile phone makers, and why have Japan’s phone makers taken no effective action to build global business in order to avoid extinction?”

Now six years after my initial presentation to DoCoMo’s CEO, I have been invited as the only non-Japanese to work on Japan’s “Post-Galapagos Committee”. For most of this year our small group of industry CEOs, academics, government officials and other leaders have been working on understanding the reasons for Japan’s “Galapagos effect” and how to overcome it.

Read about this work here in the New York Times, about my (Japanese language) presentation to the committee on the IT-Media website here (in Japanese), and download my presentation PowerPoints here (pdf-format, Japanese language).

The “Galapagos effect” has not been created by a single factor. Instead a collection of choices by the management teams of Japan’s electrical conglomerates have prevented leverage of their domestic success stories into global success stories. These choices can be overcome. In our “Post-Galapagos committee” we have worked all-year on how to overcome these choices.

Unfortunately the “Galapagos effect” is only one symptom of the crisis of Japan’s electrical giants: most have shown little or no growth in sales over the last 10 years, while at the same time margins tend to be small or negative. Over the same period, General Electric has increased sales by a factor of about three, while at the same time earning healthy margins.

Overcoming this crisis will create many opportunities. If at least some of the conclusions of our “Post Galapagos Committee” can be realized, then our committee’s hard and totally voluntary work during most of this year and many late nights will not be wasted.

For an analysis of Japan’s electrical industry sector see our Japan’s electronics industry report.

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

Do mobile app-stores and online games disrupt Nintendo’s blue ocean?

Japan introduced the mobile internet with i-Mode in 1999, while i-Phone and friends are now getting the rest of the world hooked onto the mobile internet.

Games used to be played in game parlors, and some of Japan’s game giants were originally and still are game parlor machine makers – a round of Dance-Dance-Revolution anyone? Next came consoles, cassettes and handhelds, taking the growth momentum out of game parlors, and establishing a pattern of growth by generations (today we are in the 7th Generation). Nintendo broke the cozy generation pattern where pixels and MHz increased in predictable ways from Generation to Generation without much other fundamental change. Nintendo took games sideways into the blue oceans of motion sensors and to the silver generation, women and other previously non-gaming majorities, while Xbox and SONY kept slugging out the generation game.

We have been analyzing the Tokyo Game Show for many years – at the 2004 Tokyo Game Show, when SONY gave previews of the PSP – actually, I was personally much more interested in DoCoMo’s huge exhibition village setting a stage for about 15 mobile phone gaming partners.

Since i-Mode started mobile phone games in 1999, online and mobile phone games combined have essentially outgrown the video game software sector in 2009, and are certain to grow much more in coming years – the iPhone is not slowing mobile phone based gaming down…. Those who only count video game cassettes and consoles, certainly don’t see the rapid mobile and online growth – and complain about shrinking markets.

Is Nintendo now being blind-sided by mobile phones and app-stores?

I don’t think so: not blind-sided – but strongly affected. Actually, Nintendo’s CEO and games developer Shigeru Miyamoto tell us they want to make their DSi’s central to everybody’s lives – with built in cameras, payments, app-stores, navigation. Essentially everyone on planet earth has a mobile phone, or will soon have one, or two. Many of todays phones in people’s hands can’t yet play games nicely – but DoCoMo’s phones do – and iPhones do also. Thats why we already see a lot of mobile gaming in Japan. Imagine the day when most mobile phones on planet earth can play games nicely? Will that day come?

Will people upgrade to a DSi? or to a PSP? or to a better mobile phone? Apple and DoCoMo are both proof that people do pay for downloading games from i-Mode or i-Tunes app-stores – and that’s exactly the growth we see in the Figure – you don’t see that growth if you count only the number of game cassettes and consoles sold. In any case we may not see an 8th generation console – people might upgrade their phones instead – or use Skype on their PSP.

Segmentation of Japan's games software industry
Segmentation of Japan’s games software industry

More in our report on Japan’s games industries

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

Potential Flu Pandemic Positive for Telcos

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

Wild differences in operating margins for mobile, TV media groups and electricals

We analyze the effect of the crisis on operating margins in three different sectors in Japan:

(1) electronics,
(2) mobile communications
(3) TV media groups.

In sector (1), Nintendo‘s margins are above 30% and increasing despite the crisis, while traditional electronics companies’ margins are evaporating.

(2) for mobile operators DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank margins are 10%-20% and increasing despite the crisis! Could mobile phone usage be crisis resistant?

(3) TV media groups had healthy margins in the 10%-20% range back around 2001- however these margins have been slowly melting away, and TV group margins are heading to cross the zero line into the red zone by 2010-2011. Watch out for a TV media crisis. Read more below.

Consumer electronics sector operating margins:

Nintendo bucks the trend: while Japan’s electronics firms’ margins are dropping into the red, and have never been much higher than 5% during the last 10 years, Nintendo‘s operating margins are above 30% and rising despite the crisis.

Margins of top Japan's electronics multinationals and Nintendo
Margins of top Japan’s electronics multinationals and Nintendo

(Find full data, fully labeled graphics and analysis in our report on Japan’s electrical companies)

Mobile phone sector margins are 10% – 20% and rising despite the crisis.

Mobile phones seem to be resistant to the current crisis. DoCoMo‘s, KDDI‘s and Softbank‘s margins are healthy and improving despite the crisis.

Operating margins of Japan's top 3 mobile operators
Operating margins of Japan’s top 3 mobile operators

(Find full data, fully labeled graphics and analysis in our JCOMM Report)

Margins of TV media groups have been melting away since their peak in 2001.

Back in 2001 Japan’s TV media groups used to enjoy healthy margins of up to 20%. Over the last 8 years these healthy margins have molten away, and Japan’s large TV media groups are likely to all simultaneously go into the red from 2010 onwards, unless dramatic action is taken. Media groups will need to grow profitable new business, e.g. mobile-TV, and other cross-media growth areas.

Could it be that recent anti-takeover measures have made the large TV media groups complacent?

Operating margins of Japan's TV media groups
Operating margins of Japan’s TV media groups

(Find full data, fully labeled graphics and analysis in our J-MEDIA Report)

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

Japan’s two worlds: Old Japan vs New Japan

A few days ago the New Context Conference was held here in Tokyo, mainly about social network systems (SNS), top executives including CEO of LinkedIn, Facebook, and some exciting new photo, video conference and e-learning companies discussed market entry to Japan.

Takeshi Natsuno, one of the three key DoCoMo managers who together started i-Mode and arguably started the world’s mobile internet revolution launching i-Mode back in February 1999 gave the keynote discussion. Natsuno shared his very interesting observation, that Japan consists of two markets:

  • new Japan = people below 50 years age and
  • old Japan = above 50 years age

…and having managed i-Mode (today: 48 million paying subscribers) for almost 10 years Natsuno-san is certainly one of the best to know. (Natsuno-san’s main job today is to make Japan’s very cute equivalent of YouTube profitable – read more about this in a future issue of our newsletters).

Actually, you’ll find a similar observation about “old Japan and new Japan” in my presentation entitled “New opportunities versus old mistakes: foreign companies in Japan’s high-tech markets” which I gave some years ago at Stanford University to faculty, students, alumni and silicon valley managers.- (You can view and download the slides of the presentation below.)

Natsuno-san talking at the New Context conference in Tokyo about old Japan, new Japan, the future of the mobile internet, and the mobile industry. Natsuno-san is one of the three inventors of i-Mode.

Takeshi Natsuno speaking at New Context Conference
Takeshi Natsuno speaking at New Context Conference

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

Last 2G phone shipped 8 months ago in Japan

Second generation (2G) phones silently bowed out of Japan’s market 8 months ago: the last 2G phones in Japan were shipped in December 2007. KDDI/AU switched off their 2G radio network in March this year, and both DoCoMo and SoftBank announced that they will switch off their slow and expensive 2G networks in the very near future (about 2009). Almost all other countries in the world either depend on legacy 2G networks only, or keep legacy 2G going while building out third generation in parallel. (Today’s 3G HSDPA phones transmit data up to 250 times faster than 2G phones did on a good day).

Dynamics of 3G mobile adoption in Japan: ratio of 3G and 2G mobile phones shipped in Japan
Dynamics of 3G mobile adoption in Japan: ratio of 3G and 2G mobile phones shipped in Japan

The last 2nd generation (2G) phones shipped in Japan in December 2007. Almost all other countries keep legacy 2G networks running – Japan just switches them off. More in our JCOMM report.

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

Market caps of companies in mobile: global vs local

Google, Apple, Nokia, HTC, Vodafone and are winning the driver’s seat of the global internet revolution. DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank essentially stay inside Japan for now – limiting their growth prospects and leaving global opportunities to others.

Market caps of Japan's telecom operators compared to global telecom and internet companies
Market caps of Japan’s telecom operators compared to global telecom and internet companies

GOOGLE with Android and APPLE with iPhone are reaching for the driver’s seat of the global mobile data revolution. Global companies including GOOGLE, Vodafone, Apple and NOKIA grow to US$ 100s Billion valuations, while local companies NTT, DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank remain essentially limited to Japan’s market for now. Smartphone maker HTC increases impact – including in Japan.

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

SoftBank and KDDI win market share

SoftBank from 4th to 1st position within less than 12 months… SoftBank‘s turn-round of x-Vodafone-Japan, went faster than many expected. Within less than 12 months SoftBank went from last place to first place in customer sign-ups, overtaking even KDDI‘s super-popular AU.

Willcom recently suffers from SoftBank‘s revival, as well as from eMobile‘s flat rate data services.

Find latest market share data in our report on Japan’s telecom industry.

Month-to-month net subscription growth/decline for Japan's mobile phone operators during the period when mobile number portability (MNP) was introduced
Month-to-month net subscription growth/decline for Japan’s mobile phone operators during the period when mobile number portability (MNP) was introduced

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

First half FY2008 results: SoftBank and KDDI profits increase, DoCoMo’s trends is downward

In the last few days NTT, NTT-DoCoMo, KDDI and SoftBank announced their first half financial results. SoftBank and KDDI are the winners both for market share and for profits, while DoCoMo‘s results and market shares are sinking, and pulling the NTT-Group down at this time. Extrapolation indicates that DoCoMo‘s net profits may fall into the red about one year from now, drastic action is taken soon.

Net after-tax income of Japan's top three mobile operators NTT-docomo, KDDI and SoftBank. Currently docomo's net profits follows a downward trend, and risks to drop into the red, unless docomo takes drastic measures.
Net after-tax income of Japan’s top three mobile operators NTT-docomo, KDDI and SoftBank. Currently docomo’s net profits follows a downward trend, and risks to drop into the red, unless docomo takes drastic measures.

The thin lines show linear interpolations of quarterly net profit data. Our extrapolation seems to indicate that DoCoMo‘s net profit might fall into the red towards then end of calender year 2008 unless drastic action is taken. If current trends continue, SoftBank‘s net profits might exceed DoCoMo‘s mid-2008. We expect DoCoMo to take dramatic action before this happens.

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

"Help – my mobile phone does not work!" – Why Japan’s mobile phone sector is so different from Europe’s

Presentation at the Lunch meeting of the Finnish Chamber of Commerce in Japan (FCCJ) on March 16, 2007 at the Westin Hotel, Tokyo.

Find the summary and photos of the meeting here

The presentation is not available any longer on the FCCJ website however you can download our report about Japan’s telecom sector. If you need the FCCJ presentation PowerPoints e.g. for prior art or other business, please contact us.

From the Announcement:

In his presentation, Dr. Fasol will explain the essentials of Japan’s mobile phone market, why and how it is so different to Europe’s. He will also talk about some of the reasons why it is so difficult for European companies to succeed and uncover opportunities and the keys to success for European companies in this important market.

More in our report about Japan’s telecom sector.

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

Mobile payment and the future of money (presentation at CLSA Japan Forum)

CLSA – Asia-Pacific Markets – last week organized the “CLSA Japan Forum” here in Tokyo. About 800-1000 investment bankers, portfolio managers, investors, analysts came together. Since last year interest of global investors in Japan has increased a lot.

Eurotechnology Japan KK participated actively, and on Friday March 2, 2007, gave a presentation on:

“Impact of mobile payment and the future of money”

The presentation covers the following agenda:

  • Can e-money and mobile payment replace cash?
  • Example: mobile payment for the world’s busiest train line
  • DoCoMo’s target for mobile payments
  • Japan’s mobile payment and keitai credit landscape
  • Free markets vs regulation
  • Mifare and Felica chips and radio communications (NFC)
  • Who drives mobile payments
  • Growth of SUICA
  • DoCoMo’s mobile payment and keitai credit strategy
  • Edy – electronic cash
  • A major bank’s mobile payment system
  • Impact
  • Where to invest – who to watch
  • Summary

More information:
“Mobile payment and keitai credit” (download here)

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