SoftBank internal data suggests smartphone figures worse than reported

By Yoshiyasu Shida

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Maybe if they spent money on building a better service area, they wouldn't be losing so many customers. Softbank has the worst coverage of any of the big three, and as soon as my contract with them ends this January, I will switch to AU.

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More competition, more choices for consumers.

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Why? People are not dumb enough to buy the new model every 6 months? Aww next time SoftBank :)

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The whole industry here needs to do the following things:

Increase coverage (especially in the countryside and throughout the underground/tube train networks in Tokyo, etc).

Improve carrier updates to Android devices (currently, all three carriers are notorious at only releasing ONE update, early on, for most Android phones, and then calling it a day).

Offer cheaper and easier ways to upgrade phones.

-Allow for unlocked phones from other domestic/foreign networks to work easily on their networks. A more open system seems less stable, but also offers more possible customers, especially tourists looking for the same services as their own country when travelling abroad (i.e., easily installing a temporary foreign sim card while on holiday).

Increase "pay-as-you-go" plans, and make it easier to get such "burner" phones and/or allowing users to pay over the phone by credit/debit cards (like every other developed country does).

Offer more, recent and better phones. Currently, Docomo didn't offer the Galaxy Note 4 (or the infamous Note 5, which is no loss, IMO), while Softbank's pathetic offering of 5 or so out-of-date, mid-range Android devices at high prices has basically given the (perhaps on purpose) impression that Softbank IS Apple (the colours and layout seen very similar). Hiding said Android device in the corner, at the back, in the basement doesn't help, either.

Sell more official and third party peripherals. Samsung, for example, have sold some amazing stuff that goes with their phone and tablets, but tracking it down in Japan is a pain. In the end, I just went to Amazon and/or imported it myself. The carriers should follow the lead of the Apple and Microsoft stores and devote space to such things and/or manufacturer corners, such as a "shop within a shop", creating a reason to visit such carrier shops.

-Train the staff to actually know something about the phones, and technology in general. I can't remember how many times the staff at a flagship shop knew little or nothing about the phone they were trying to sell.

Stop branding their logos on the bloody phones. People don't like it and it smacks slightly of nationalism (or perhaps some other dark aspect).

reduce carrier bloatware. No Docomo, I'm not interested in your sodding mail app, not the awful carrier skin, launcher or countless other badly designed " llifestyle" apps with bad GUIs.
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The data . . . highlights the depth of SoftBank’s pain as intensifying competition hits its domestic mobile unit...

And yet, SoftBank, Au, and DoCoMo still somehow manage to magically defy laws of the free market and keep their prices unchanged and almost perfectly aligned with one another.

And with nary an investigation of collusion or price fixing on the horizon.

It's simply amazing how they've managed this mystical new market dynamic. If only we knew the secret to their (relative) success. :-)

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