Masayoshi Son, the man behind Softbank empire and the game changing broadband service, Softbank Broadband, cannot be blamed for singing the R. Kelly song…. I believe I can fly! Japan’s Ministry of Communications has issued new mobile licenses that make Softbank Corp., eAccess Ltd. and IPMobile become the latest entrants in the country’s mobile industry in 12 years. And this is as if the market wasn’t crowded enough! I wonder what this does to Vodafone, one of the weakest mobile players in Japan with 17% market share. NTT DoCoMo has 56% of the market, while KDDI has 23% market share.
IPMobile, one of the three new entrants will be using US-based IPWireless’ UMTS TD-CDMA technology and from the looks of it will be targeting the PDA/Laptop users. I think the game changer here is Softbank, since it already has a wired broadband network and can basically hasten the convergence of wireless and wired networks. There are rumors that online betting, one of Son’s latest tricks to take market share from incumbents, would go mobile as well. And of course the price war.
Kieran Calder, telecoms analyst at CLSA, told The London Times: “We all know about Masayoshi Son’s MO (modus operandi), so a price war is certainly on the cards.”