Softbank Vodafone Japan Deal good for Open Mobile Economy
mobiliser blog: Softbank buys Vodafone Japan. The Softbank Vodafone Japan Deal is good for the Open Mobile Economy because the Funky Mobile Broadband Show in Japan (mobiliser article from 20.12.05) gets more funky a lot faster.
Having been 8 times to Tokyo since 2000 - at that time Vodafone Japan was still called J-Phone - it is a special honour for me to share my thoughts with you.
As of 28 Feb 06, there are 90.767.700 mobile subs in Japan (excluding PHS) according to TCA Japan. The acquisition target Vodafone K.K. served 15.146.500 subs, KDDI 24.962.700 and NTTDoCoMo 50.658.500. The deal’s Enterprise Value is reported by Vodafone’s CEO Arun Sarin to be £8.9 billion (€12.8 billion). This deal size translates into a subscriber value of €845 which is less than Telefonica paid for O2.
I think Softbank made a good deal. Having recently been awarded a new 3G license for building a new UMTS/HSDPA network in Japan Softbank had originally planned to enter the Japanese mobile market in early 2007 while having to build a new network from scratch. Swallowing Vodafone K.K. they are one year ahead of this plan without having to build a new network. Well done!
Softbank’s CEO Masayoshi Son, who is actually a Korean, is really after Fixed NTT and Mobile NTTDoCoMo. Softbank owns Yahoo Japan and has 5 million ADSL customers. Son-san will be very aggressive. The only way to be aggressive is to offer low-cost mobile data and All-over-IP including Mobile VoIP. This is good for the Digital Lifestyle Customers in Japan.
Softbank will create a Ubiquitous Network Operator (UNO). This UNO will combine the fixed and mobile network into one state-of-the-art service for Ubiquitous Digital Lifestyle Customers. Softbank’s UNO strategy will take into account that fixed bandwidth will always be cheaper and faster than mobile bandwidth. That’s why Digital Lifestyle Customers that consume and produce a lot of data want both: Fixed and Mobile Flat Rates with open ports for All-over-IP. Why not get it from the UNO called Softbank?
As for Vodafone, retreating from the leading mobile market is a sign of weakness. But this weakness might finally be converted into a strength by the time Vodafone manages to reduce their level of marketing arrogance that came from trying to build the “biggest mobile community in the world”.
Vodafone now has a chance to rethink their “global one-for-all strategy”. Vodafone now has a chance to consider opening their networks to new innovative players including Data MVNOs such as OPEN. Being moderate OPEN would not want to buy the Vodafone network, just resell its data capacity.
Jan Michael Hess is Founder and CEO of Ecosummit and Mobile Economy GmbH. Berlin-based Mobile Economy provides management consulting focused on smart green business innovation. Ecosummit is the Smart Green Economy Network for startups, investors and corporates. Mobile Economy produced the international conferences Green Venture Summit 2010 (250 participants) and Ecosummit 2011 (300 participants) in Berlin. Jan acts as Chief Editor for Ecosummit.net and the Youtube channel Ecosummit TV. Prior to founding Mobile Ecomomy in 2000, Jan worked for Pixelpark, Icon Medialab and Ciao. Jan holds a business degree from the University of Mannheim in Germany.
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