20061010

DoCoMo beyond DoCoMo

DoCoMo will soon expand its HSDPA coverage beyond Tokyo in Japan's major cities. 33,000 FOMA HIGH-SPEED handsets were sold during the first month of operation last summer and the MOVA / FOMA ratio fell from 54% to 45% between end of March and end of August 2006.
NTT DoCoMo's overall marketshare keeps going down too, but at a much slower pace (not even one point over the last two years). Churn rate even flirted with the 0.60% line lately. But MNP should boost it back up to 0.85%. And Softbank Mobile starts releasing impressive series of 3G W-CDMA handsets.
i-mode still suffers at the global level and e-Wallet / m-payment services seem to be the only promising driver right now : end of August, DCMX claimed 800,000 users (the service was launched in April) and Felica almost one third of DoC's 47.1M customers (15.5M enabled handsets). Besides, iD will share a common platform (PoS reader / writer, data center) with JR East's Suica next January and others will follow soon afterwards (JCB Co.'s QUICPay and bitWallet Inc.'s Edy). But nothing really new under the sun : JR East and DoCoMo have been working on it for over a year*.

Well... "DoCoMo Vision 2010" is getting older and it starts showing. Multimedia and Ubiquity didn't bring any major disruption, and Globalization looks gloomy. In Europe at least. Teaming up with KTF was the smartest move in the past few years.

* see "Zero noodle. Korea goes South" (20050730)



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