Docomo returns to top ranking after three years - Mobile World Live

Docomo returns to top ranking after three years

20 OCT 2009

Japan’s largest mobile operator NTT Docomo last month managed to replace rival Softbank as the country’s fastest-growing player, regaining the ranking for the first time in three years. Bloomberg notes that Docomo added 143,600 users in July, 6,000 more than Softbank. Softbank was the country’s second-fastest-growing operator ahead of KDDI. Softbank had previously led the ranking for 26 straight months. KDDI led in terms of new subscribers for the nine months preceding that. “The release of our summer models and lowering the minimum charge for data transmission contributed to boosting our sales,” Makiko Furuta, a spokeswoman for DoCoMo in Tokyo, told Bloomberg. Docomo’s return to leading the subscriber addition rankings comes as the market becomes increasingly competitive. Earlier this week newcomer eMobile announced it had become Japan’s first operator to launch HSPA+ services.

Meanwhile, a Docomo executive has told Reuters that the operator is interested in buying Luxembourg-based telecom operator Millicom’s Cambodian network (Mobitel) to boost its presence in Southeast Asia. Docomo has not yet decided whether to make a bid for Mobitel, and will consider other M&A targets in Cambodia, Toshinari Kunieda, senior vice president and managing director of Docomo’s global business, told the news agency. Docomo is also considering investing in Sri Lanka, and could look at Millicom’s Sri Lanka asset Celltel among other possibilities, Kunieda said. Last year, Docomo set a target of achieving 10 percent of its sales from foreign ventures in a decade to compensate for slowing growth in the Japanese market. It already owns stakes in India’s sixth-largest mobile operator, Tata Teleservices (26 percent), Bangladesh’s third-largest mobile operator, Aktel (30 percent), and Malaysia’s U-Mobile (16.5 percent).

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