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Leadership Mobile Renewable energy telecommunications

Growth in Japan: the SoftBank group

SoftBank gaining market share in Japan

SoftBank market cap catching up with Docomo

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:

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 joins the SoftBank group

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 negotiating the SPRINT acquisition, SoftBank tricks out KDDI to take control of eMobile

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).

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)

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile

iida – a new brand for KDDI’s design series

KDDI created a new brand: “iida” for the long running best selling AU design series mobile phones. KDDI introduced some of the most recent iida design series models at the KDDI Designing Center. In addition to the earlier Yamaha musical instruments phones, KDDI introduced a spectacular phone created by Yayoi Kusama.

Fun is the green leaved charger….

KDDI iida charger
KDDI iida charger

KDDI iida design series - by Yayoi Kusama
KDDI iida design series – by Yayoi Kusama

KDDI iida mobile phone by Yayoi Kusama
KDDI iida mobile phone by Yayoi Kusama

KDDI iida mobile phones by Yayoi Kusama
KDDI iida mobile phones by Yayoi Kusama

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

Categories
Mobile

Mobile subscriptions grow by 5 million in Japan during 2006

Japan’s mobile subscriber numbers grew by about 5 million in 2006. Because of the much higher ARPU, Japan’s mobile market again grew by a couple of Finlands during 2006. A growing number of people have more than one mobile phone, to take advantage of the best rates, eg for mail, voice and data. We expect growth to continue. Our analysis below shows that KDDI’s and AU’s gains are a lot larger than a superficial view of the statistics reveals – see our Figure below. Find a detailed review in the latest edition of our JCOMM-Report.

Growth of Japan's mobile subscription numbers during 2006 - KDDI is the winner
During 2006 Japan’s mobile subscription base grew by about 5 million – KDDI gained about 4.2 million new subscriptions and is the clear winner, despite shutting down its TuKa 2G service during this period

KDDI‘s subscriber gains during 2006 are much bigger than a superficial analysis reveals (see figure above):

KDDI’s AU mobile service gained about 4.2 million new subscribers during 2006 – more than twice as many than DoCoMo’s cellular service, which gained about 1.8 million new subscriptions.

Currently, KDDI is shutting down it’s TuKa 2G service, and DoCoMo is shutting down it’s PHS service. Both services together lost more than 2 million subscribers during 2006 – this is a much larger movement than due to number portability introduced on Oct 24, 2006.

KDDI offers both number portability and mobile email portability, and reports surprise that many former low-end TuKa users moved to top-end high-speed WIN (2.4 Mbps) data services.

For KDDI, enticing TuKa subscribers to move to high-end/high-speed AU services was an excellent preparation for number portability, and helped KDDI win in the first stage.

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

Categories
Mobile

"au design project 2006": TRILOGY

KDDI is unique among mobile operators in creating value from design for phones with the “au design project”. Creating value for which consumers are willing to pay premium prices is a key to success in the rapidly growing global US$ 150 Billion mobile phone business.

au design project 2006:

The KDDI Designing Center showed the exhibition “TRILOGY”, displaying some results of the “au design project 2006”. The three concept phones are (from left to right):

  • “kaos” by Naoki Sakai
  • “cypres” by Nao Tamura
  • “vols” by Ross McBride

KDDI / au design project 2006
KDDI / au design project 2006

KDDI / au design project
KDDI / au design project “kaos”

KDDI / au design project
KDDI / au design project “cypress”

KDDI / au design project
KDDI / au design project “vols”

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

Categories
Mobile

"au design project": INFOBAR-2 by Fukawasa Naoto

KDDI is unique among mobile operators in creating value from design for phones with the “au design project”. Read more about KDDI in our KDDI report.

Creating value for which consumers are willing to pay premium prices is a key to success in the rapidly growing global US$ 150 Billion mobile phone business.

INFOBAR was a big success for KDDI. Industrial designer Fukawasa Naoto recently created INFOBAR-2, and introduced it at a show at the KDDI Designing Center in Tokyo:

KDDI / au design series: Infobar 2
KDDI / au design series: Infobar 2

KDDI / au design series: Infobar 2 exhibition
KDDI / au design series: Infobar 2 exhibition

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

Categories
Internet Mobile

Yahoo!-keitai replaces Vodafone-Live!

SoftBank replaced Vodafone-Live! by Yahoo!-Keitai. SoftBank phones have a “Y!”-button which links to Yahoo!-keitai. Yahoo-Keitai! offers a list of official sites, new services (e.g. a new communicator service), and also access to free mobile internet sites through the YAHOO directory, as well as access to YAHOO services, such as YAHOO-auctions.

SoftBank replaces Vodafone-Life by Yahoo!-keitai as part of the acquisition of Vodafone-Japan
SoftBank replaces Vodafone-Life by Yahoo!-keitai as part of the acquisition of Vodafone-Japan

YAHOO!-keitai is a fresh start to revive the mobile internet service, previously known as Vodafone-Live!, and which had been losing market share to competitors i-Mode and EZweb for about 4 years. Previous to the Vodafone-Live! period, Jsky had been successful in gaining market share both from i-Mode and EZweb.

Market share in Japan's mobile internet market: Vodafone-Life was continuously losing market share before it was acquired by SoftBank, while KDDI's EZweb was winning market share over several years
Market share in Japan’s mobile internet market: Vodafone-Life was continuously losing market share before it was acquired by SoftBank, while KDDI’s EZweb was winning market share over several years

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

pdf file, approx 120 pages, 47 figures 18 photos, 7 tables

Copyright 2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile mobile music

Chaku-Uta-Full: 5 million mobile music downloads in Japan

KDDI pioneers full lengths mobile music song downloads via 3G

Chaku Uta Full achieves 5 million downloads by April 3, 2005

KDDI/AU announced that 5 Millions Chaku-Uta-Full songs have been downloaded until April 3, 2005.

KDDI/AU chaku-uta and chaku-uta-full music downloads vs iTunes global downloads
KDDI/AU chaku-uta and chaku-uta-full music downloads vs iTunes global downloads

Download our 230 page analysis of KDDI/AU

Download our “mobile music” report

Note added: on June 15, 2005, KDDI reported 10 million Chaku-Uta-Full downloads…

Copyright (c) 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
mobile music

Chaku-uta-full: 3 million mobile music downloads

Japan is the pioneer of mobile music

Ringing tones and mobile music are pioneered in Japan

Put until mid-2004, cumulatively KDDI (Japan’s No. 2 mobile operator) sold more “chaku-uta” mobile music song clips in Japan alone than Apple sold music via iTunes globally.

This fact shows both the power of mobile music, and also the size of Japan’s mobile markets in terms of cash sales.

KDDI/AU reports 3 million Chaku-uta-full (full song) downloads since it’s start on November 19, 2004:

KDDI sells approximately as many chaku-uta music clips as iTunes sells music globally demonstrating the enormous size of Japan's mobile music market
KDDI sells approximately as many chaku-uta music clips as iTunes sells music globally demonstrating the enormous size of Japan’s mobile music market

More in our “Mobile Music Japan” report.

Copyright (c) 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Japan's electronics multinationals Mobile

PENCK (KDDI-AU Designer Series)

KDDI/AU Designer Series Model PENCK

designed by Makoto Saito Design Office Inc.

Today, February 18, KDDI-AU introduced PENCK – the latest model in the Designer Series, designed by Makoto Saito Design Office Inc.:

Designer: Makoto Saito Design Office Inc.
Data rate = 2.4 Mbps
Music = Chaku-Uta-Full, stereo speakers
Camera = 1.24 Megapixel, incl QR barcode reader
GPS = incl. Naviwalk navigation
and more…

When I was asked to brief the President of Germany, Horst Koehler, on Japan’s technology sector, KDDI kindly loaned me PENCK-phones, which I used in one of the demonstrations for President Koehler of Japan’s mobile phone industry.

PENCK phone by Makoto Saito Design Office for KDDI designer series
PENCK phone by Makoto Saito Design Office for KDDI designer series
PENCK phone by Makoto Saito Design Office for KDDI designer series
PENCK phone by Makoto Saito Design Office for KDDI designer series

Japan telecommunications industry report

Copyright (c) 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile

Marc Newson designed Talby concept phone announced by KDDI

KDDI Design Project (today branded iida)

Marc Newson designed Talby concept phone for Japan’s mobile operator KDDI – au

On 13 October 2004, KDDI/AU announced “talby”, the third phone in their “AU design series”. Volume sales start in December 2004. We expect that “talby” will be similarly successful as “infobar” one year ago.

“talby” is a fully featured 3G phone with camera (640×480 pixel), QVGA display, EZappli/BREW, Chaku-uta, email, EZweb, PIM, GPS/EZnaviwalk,…

Marc Newson - KDDI-AU design series: talby by Marc Newson
KDDI-AU design series: talby by Marc Newson

Japan telecommunications industry report

Copyright (c) 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile

KDDI/AU has 80% of users on 3G

80% of KDDI/AU users are now converted to 3G, and KDDI/AU does not sell any 2G phones any more: only 3G and 3.5G (2.4Mbps data download).

Conversion to 3G in Japan: AU leads, DoCoMo and Vodafone follow. Vodafone's 3G conversion has stalled because of lack or attractive handsets in Japan and too low investment in 3G base stations
Conversion to 3G in Japan: AU leads, DoCoMo and Vodafone follow. Vodafone’s 3G conversion has stalled because of lack or attractive handsets in Japan and too low investment in 3G base stations

Here is KDDI/AU‘s newest 3.5G phone – the W21SA, for 2.4Mbps data download:

KDDI 3G mobile handset W21SA
KDDI 3G mobile handset W21SA

More about Japan’s mobile telecom sector:Eurotechnology Japan report on Japan’s telecom industry

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

Categories
ecommerce GPS Leadership Mobile mobile payment QR codes telecommunications

Wireless Japan 2004 exhibition (Tokyo, July 21-23, 2004)

FeliCa mobile payment wallet phones at the centre of attention

by Gerhard Fasol

Wireless, mobile phone industry trends years before they reach outside Japan

Every year the Wireless Japan sets global trends in wireless communications and mobile phones. Mobile phone industry professionals cannot afford to miss this trend setting show. It is here that Japanese carriers and handset makers introduce their latest products and show design studies and concept phones which set industry trends for the next months and years.

There were some surprises: In recent Wireless-Japan shows usually the KDDI/AU-design project prototypes were at the center of attention – this year I could not find any. For example, at Wireless-Japan-2002, KDDI/AU showed “Infobar” prototypes a full 16 months before market introduction. Did KDDI/AU decide to keep future design-project releases secret until they hit the market? Could well be so, given Japan’s increasingly ferocious mobile phone competition. Another surprise was Vodafone’s absence – Vodafone in recent years used to have the biggest show.

On the other hand this time most handset makers showed impressive concept phones, Matsushita/Panasonic under the heading “Beyond 3G”. The image shows NEC’s concept design study of a flexible multimedia phone: this phone has two screens which can be bent together, and used jointly as a larger screen.

Wireless Japan 2004 Highlights: “Beyond 3G”

Beyond 3G: SANYO 3.5G phone for 2.4Mbps data download (for KDDI/AU):

KDDI/AU 3G phone W21SA
KDDI/AU 3G phone W21SA
SANYO show at Wireless Japan 2004
SANYO show at Wireless Japan 2004

Wireless Japan 2004: NEC “tag” wrapping multimedia design concept phone:

Concept model phone by NEC at WirelessJapan-2004 exhibition
Concept model phone by NEC at WirelessJapan-2004 exhibition

“Wireless Japan 2004” – much was expected: for example, it wasn’t surprising for anyone that DoCoMo’s i-Mode-FeliCa wallet-phones were center stage of the DoCoMo exhibit with lots of partners demoing wallet-phone applications.

NEC concept phone
NEC concept phone
NEC concept phone
NEC concept phone

Matsushita/Panasonic “Beyond 3G” design concepts:

Panasonic concept phone
Panasonic concept phone

DoCoMo UbiButton and UbiChip:

DoCoMo's UbiButton and UbiChip
DoCoMo’s UbiButton and UbiChip

DoCoMo i-Mode-FeliCa wallet phones – for electronic cash:

the world's first commercial wallet phone: P506iC - by DoCoMo and Panasonic
the world’s first commercial wallet phone: P506iC – by DoCoMo and Panasonic

DoCoMo i-Mode-FeliCa wallet phones – as an electronic door key:

Mobile phone as a RFID key to lock and unlock doors
Mobile phone as a RFID key to lock and unlock doors

We have substantial documentation about the Wireless Japan 2004 exhibition, and most other year’s Wireless Japan exhibitions. If you need information or documentation for prior art or other investigations, please contact us.

Learn more: report on Japan’s telecom sector (269 pages, pdf file):

Copyright 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile telecommunications

Wireless Japan 2003 exhibition (Tokyo, July 16-18, 2003)

Japan shows advanced applications of 3G wireless communications

3G concept phones, 3G video, mobile payment, doorlooking via 3G

by Gerhard Fasol

Learn more: report on Japan’s telecom sector (269 pages, pdf file):

Copyright 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved

Categories
Mobile mobile payment telecommunications

Wireless Japan 2002 exhibition (July 17-19, 2002) in Tokyo

Global mobile trends start in Japan

by Gerhard Fasol

Docomo’s first 3G phones, KDDI brings design to mobile phones

The annual Wireless-Japan exhibition highlights the trends of mobile communications in Japan. At Wireless-Japan 2002 KDDI started setting the trend of concept phones.

KDDI/AU “Design Project:” Design study for the bestselling “INFOWAR”.

KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype
KDDI/AU design series prototype

The KDDI/AU design study above became the origin of the bestselling “INFOBAR”-3G phone.

And here are two images of the bestselling “INFOBAR”-phone in the version sold by KDDI.

KDDI/AU design series - Infobar
KDDI/AU design series – Infobar

Design study by AU/KDDI for future mobile handsets. This design study was the basis for the PENCK model sold by KDDI/AU at a later date.

KDDI/AU design series prototype: PENCK
KDDI/AU design series prototype: PENCK

Big Blue Vending machine for mobile internet usage by IBM

IBM vending machines for mobile payment
IBM vending machines for mobile payment

Combined mobile phone and television receiver by DoCoMo:

starting a trend to mobile TV

DoCoMo prototype phone for mobile TV
DoCoMo prototype phone for mobile TV

Automatic Teller Machine (ATM) linked to mobile phones by DoCoMo
gradually DoCoMo is introducing payment applications to mobile phones. In 2004, two years later, DoCoMo introduces the walletphone.

IY Bank (later renamed 7-Bank) ATM protoype
IY Bank (later renamed 7-Bank) ATM protoype

Karaoke Machine linked to mobile phones by DoCoMo

Linking Karaoke to mobile phones
Linking Karaoke to mobile phones

FOMA video telephone and MOPPET fixed line video telephony terminal, allows video conversation between FOMA mobile phone and fixed line telephone.

More information about 3G in Japan and FOMA: www.eurotechnology.com/3G/.

NTT Moppet
NTT Moppet

SH2101V handheld PC and video camera for FOMA (3G) use, including video camera

DoCoMo 3G prototype multi-media phone SH2101V
DoCoMo 3G prototype multi-media phone SH2101V

We have substantial documentation about the Wireless Japan 2002 exhibition, and most other year’s Wireless Japan exhibitions. If you need information or documentation for prior art or other investigations, please contact us.

Learn more: report on Japan’s telecom sector (269 pages, pdf file):

Copyright 1997-2013 Eurotechnology Japan KK All Rights Reserved