updated 09:45 am EDT, Wed July 7, 2010
Softbank outgrows NTT DoCoMo, KDDI in June
Softbank today beat out fellow Japanese carriers again today by adding the most new subscribers in the country. It credited the launch of the iPhone 4 for helping it add 229,500 new subscribers in June. While larger, NTT DoCoMo only added 164,600 subscribers, and the second-place KDDI Au network added just 61,300 new customers.
As with most iPhone launches, Softbank didn't provide exact iPhone-only numbers, although launch lines were said to run to the hundreds, if not thousands, at Apple and Softbank stores.
The numbers are likely to reinforce Apple's control of the smartphone market in Japan. As of March, it already had 72 percent of sales and was large enough to be a significant competitor for cellphones of any kind. Other carriers have slowly been adding smartphones to their ranges but have largely been limited to a handful of Android devices, such as NTT DoCoMo's modestly successful version of the Sony Ericsson Xperia X10. Softbank itself has a version of the HTC Desire, but its sales aren't considered nearly as significant as the iPhone's.
Much of Japan's phone business is still dominated by conventional phones with advanced hardware features but very limited software that has often been criticized for overly complex interfaces. Apple lacks Japan-specific customizations such as an internal 1Seg TV tuner or FeliCa wireless payments but also has a considerably simpler interface with smartphone-level apps.