Friday, September 01, 2006


Vodafone announces wind-up of 2G service from 2008

Today Vodafone KK announced that they will stop taking new subscribers to their 2G service at the end of the 2007 financial year (which, in Japan is March 2008 – by which time, of course the company will have long been rebranded as SoftBank Mobile). After March 2008, Vodafone (SoftBank) will no longer offer 2G PDC contracts to new consumers.

As far as I know, Vodafone is the first Japanese carrier to announce plans to go 3G only. Interestingly, they are also lagging far behind DoCoMo and au in terms of 2G/3G subscriber ratio. 26% of Vodafone’s customers are on 3G, compared to 53% for DoCoMo and 97% for au.

One of the strategies Vodafone are using now to boost 3G subscribers is limiting their mobile number portability service (due to launch later this year) to 3G contracts. It will be interesting to see how SoftBank will push its 3G services in the future.

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