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Apple finding it difficult to crack Japanese cell phone market - Page 4

post #121 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The iPhone is crap because its not tactile, unfamiliar to Japanese, and won't allow them to text while driving.

LOL


Yeah, I know. Have you noticed that most people who talk negative about the iPhone actually never used an iPhone
post #122 of 156
[QUOTE=1st;1309703]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Breckinridge View Post


a few month test drive in the Akihabara would prevent all the problems... don't need the hot phone, just the prototype of touch and feel, plus few key features... someone skipped a key step of market testing... http://wikitravel.org/en/Tokyo/Akihabara

Remind me the right side drive US car sitting in the japanese display window many years ago...

Agree about Akihabara. You'd think someone at Apple might have some experience in Japan. Why is it not reaching the top levels of the company?

Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

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Proud AAPL stock owner.

 

GOA

Reply
post #123 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

Just because he says so makes it true? It would lend more credibility if he'd done a test with a specific phone instead of casual observation.

There have been a number of reports showing the iPhone besting other popular HSDPA 3G phones in battery life.

Yep, but if you knew anything about UMTS and how it works you would realise that much of the battery usage of the phone depends on the network and how the phone handles it. Obviously the iPhone doesn't work very well in all 3G networks. It was probably sitting on full transmit power the entire time. Hence the battery drain.
post #124 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by jodyfanning View Post

Yep, but if you knew anything about UMTS and how it works you would realise that much of the battery usage of the phone depends on the network and how the phone handles it. Obviously the iPhone doesn't work very well in all 3G networks. It was probably sitting on full transmit power the entire time. Hence the battery drain.

What evidence is their that the iPhone does not work well on all 3G networks?

This may have been the problem but at best is only speculation with lack of evidence. The problem is that the post was an anecdotal observation with no empirical data to back it up.
post #125 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anawrahta View Post

Can someone explain to me why Emoji is such a big deal in Japan? From what I've read here it seems to be an important feature, but from what I gather it's just a glorified emoticon system. I mean can't you just write, "雨" in Kanji instead of having the little rain icon?

Or is it just Apple's poor implementation of this that is really the problem? For example, if they weren't going to do emoji, then why not just make it so the software on the phone ignores the unicodes that show the emoji?

As an aside, do grown adults actually pepper their text messages with these silly icons? I'm assuming if this is the case it's a cultural thing, but I can't quite get my head around a middle aged salaryman sending a message with junk like this:


Emoji are more important for the Japanese language than English, becausse Japanese is a much mroe ambigous and less direct language. As anyone learning Japanese will know, you cannot simply translate from English to Japanese as you have to understand the culture and the way in which language is used. It's completely different and far less explicit. The emoji allow you to subtley make your feelings slightly more obvious, where amiguous language could be mis-interperated.

The biggest problem with the iPhone is that when other's send a message with emoji, all we see is a 'softbank plus' logo for every symbol. This can lead to great confusion and simlpy means we can't extract all meaning from the message. Emoji aren't just smiley faces and in my experience DO work across all networks now, even if the picture may slightly differ. I currently send and receive emoji with friends on all major Japanese networks with no problems on my Sharp phone.

It's not really up for us to debate how useful Emoji are, the fact is that they are widely used in Japan and the iPhone not supporting them is complete negligence on Apple's part and somewhat comparable to a Western phone not supporting capital letters.
post #126 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Anawrahta View Post

Can someone explain to me why Emoji is such a big deal in Japan? From what I've read here it seems to be an important feature, but from what I gather it's just a glorified emoticon system. I mean can't you just write, "雨" in Kanji instead of having the little rain icon? ...do grown adults actually pepper their text messages with these silly icons? I'm assuming if this is the case it's a cultural thing...

It's a cultural thing. Come to Japan and you will see that there is a hefty amount of ultra-HelloKitty-style cuteness everywhere. And yes, even mature adults here like that cuteness. Emoji is a part of this.

Why not use the "ame" Kanji character for rain instead of an icon? Because Kanji are Chinese characters and overuse of them here in Japan makes people feel like you are throwing Chinese at them. Seriously. Put too many Kanji on a paper ad, pass it around the office for review, and your co-workers will tell you, "It looks Chinese." We therefore use more Hiragana and Katakana and English at times than Kanji.

But it's impossible to explain the mind of the Japanese fully. One book that does a decent job (at least, I personally feel it is accurate in many areas, after living here in Japan myself 14 years) may do the job for you: KATA.

But the point of all this is not that we, people in this forum, should be reading books about Japan. Apple needs to be studying up on it. What about Apple Japan? They've always played the yes-man, hardly using any force at all to dictate what Cupertino needs to do here.
post #127 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by fender101 View Post

you cannot simply translate from English to Japanese as you have to understand the culture and the way in which language is used. It's completely different and far less explicit.

this is true of any language

Quote:
The emoji allow you to subtley make your feelings slightly more obvious, where amiguous language could be mis-interperated.

this is true of any language. why do you think / :o / :x were invented?

emoji is popular because it is fun, well-established and (all-importantly) cute. i'm surprised no one is commenting on infrared beaming between phones. this is one unique function of japanese phones that is genuinely useful
post #128 of 156
The Japanese market seems at 90 degrees to the rest of the world.
I reckon if Apple changed course in an attempt to attract the Japanese audience, the price would be alienating the rest of the world.

Japan has its own unique traditions, technofetishes and a fondness for locally produced gagetry.

There's no easy way to break into that market. Even if Apple spent millions in re-engineering for Japan, I doubt if it would translate into sales.

C.
post #129 of 156
Carniphage, you appear to be European, but your philosophy toward Japan parallels that of the US. Indeed, it makes sense as it is a typical "Westerner's ideology" on not modifying products for the Japanese market. So let's give deeper thought to what you are saying:
1) Japan really isn't that big/significant a market
2) We'd probably fail if we tried and lose money too
3) Our changes might drive up prices
4) Trying is a waste of time because it's a hard market to crack
5) The Japanese only prefer "local produced" gadgets

These are all the reasons why most companies outside Japan, run by those with Western ideology, fail to sell much of anything here. And sadly, the problem is further compounded by those same Westerners later laying blame on Japan and the Japanese for why they don't sell much!

Thankfully, Apple does have a history of creating things specifically for the Japanese, such as KanjiTalk OS's, Kotoeri Japanese input, outstanding Japanese fonts in OS X that put overpriced Morisawa to shame, Japanese keyboards, the PowerBook 550c (only sold in Japan), the Color Classic II (sold mainly in Japan), and others (which I cannot recall off the top of my head). Here's an article about Apple & Japan and how their heavy investment in KanjiTalk paid off for them at the time (1992).

You often reap what you sow in Japan. I can therefore hope that Apple will continue to be an "insightful" Western company who sees the importance of Japan and catering a product to it (e.g., emoji, improved Japanese input, bar code reading, swipe payments, swappable battery). Even if I personally never buy an iPhone here (and I certainly will not so long as the price is over $60/month for wireless fees), I can hope that the iPhone may be sufficiently catered to many Japanese who will want it more than they are now. This will help Apple's bottom line and drive up my AAPL stock price. That's something I want to see!
post #130 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by dyp View Post

I know this is about iPhone and Japan but here's my recent experience after showing off my iPhone to my niece in Korea.

First of all, there's no GSM so I couldn't use the phone but they did have Wifi in the apartment so was able to show e-mail and other features.

She then pulled out her Samsung and showed off the interface. iPhone definitely had better resolution and probably a slicker interface. Samsung had similar size, touch interface and a few more buttons.

She showed off her pic album which you can reverse/forward pics by flicking the phone. Lot more low res games on the phone. Seems like they incorporated the accelerometer into the phone's basic features which I wish Apple would do with the iPhone.

I showed how I can play videos with iPhone's iPod feature. She then pulled out an antenna and showed how she can get live satellite broadcasts. In fact, we were watching the same show on her phone that we were watching on TV.

I said "Oh, wow"

The US HDTV initiative might have killed any possibility to have TV on US cell phone without getting it streamed through the cell network.

Analog data may have its problems, but it is analog. It doesn't take much to receive the analog signal over the air. For digital, at least it is not possible right now, and it is a huge waste to decode 1080P (huge CPU and power requirement) and then down sample to the cell phone screen.
post #131 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by JDW View Post

Carniphage, you appear to be European, but your philosophy toward Japan parallels that of the US. Indeed, it makes sense as it is a typical "Westerner's ideology" on not modifying products for the Japanese market. So let's give deeper thought to what you are saying:
1) Japan really isn't that big/significant a market
2) We'd probably fail if we tried and lose money too
3) Our changes might drive up prices
4) Trying is a waste of time because it's a hard market to crack
5) The Japanese only prefer "local produced" gadgets

These are all the reasons why most companies outside Japan, run by those with Western ideology, fail to sell much of anything here. And sadly, the problem is further compounded by those same Westerners later laying blame on Japan and the Japanese for why they don't sell much!

If a company has a global product, that sells well to the rest of the world, it might not be wise to change the product just to meet the requirements of one market. If you invest in making that change, you need to get a return on your investment.

What is that Japanese saying? "The nail that sticks out should be hammered in?"

C.
post #132 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Carniphage View Post


What is that Japanese saying? "The nail that sticks out should be hammered in?"

C.

I thought the saying was:

"If you've never even been to Japan, what can you really offer that is useful to this thread?"

post #133 of 156
The iPhone is bad cause:

Its not like my old phone.
It does not teleport.
It does not play tv shows over the air (on line yes, but not over the air).
It does not pay my bills, oh wait, it does over the internet.
It does not access the Zune music store.
It does not play flash.
bla
bla
bla.


The iPhone. The best iPod ever, does the real internet, and oh yea, its a fully integrated cell phone. Period. NO tricorder included.......... yet. :-)

One last thing, I love that the iPhone has a full OS running it. It means that the future for MY phone as well as new iPhones is great. Those other phones that you need to buy a new one everytime that they add a new feature...... well....... pay pay pay. :-)

Just a thought.
en
post #134 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by johnqh View Post

The US HDTV initiative might have killed any possibility to have TV on US cell phone without getting it streamed through the cell network.

Analog data may have its problems, but it is analog. It doesn't take much to receive the analog signal over the air. For digital, at least it is not possible right now, and it is a huge waste to decode 1080P (huge CPU and power requirement) and then down sample to the cell phone screen.

It has NOTHING to do with techical stuff.

It has EVERYTHING to do with business models --- both Japan and South Korea haven't been able to find a viable business model yet for tv on mobile phones.

http://www.techdigest.tv/2007/10/koreajapan_week_9.html

http://www.telecomasia.net/article.p..._article=10234
post #135 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by eldernorm View Post

One last thing, I love that the iPhone has a full OS running it. It means that the future for MY phone as well as new iPhones is great. Those other phones that you need to buy a new one everytime that they add a new feature...... well....... pay pay pay. :-)

Just a thought.
en

I agree.

The folks who dislike this iPhone usually pick a hardware feature they want to see.
What they miss is the massive lead Apple has with the software.

Any credible electronics vendor can add hardware features to a phone. There are trade offs. (Size / power consumption / cost) but it's not rocket science.

But the real problem with other manufacturers is software. They struggle to develop system software to support those features. They struggle to present a consistent and logical interface.
Third parties trying to make software face a battle with inconsistent platforms, confused APIs or wasteful interpreted languages.

Apple is literally years ahead in these areas. The mobile version of Cocoa is completely unique.
And it is this software advantage that will take Apple into Japan, and into markets traditionally dominated by Nokia and RIM.

But it will not happen overnight.

C.
post #136 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by fender101 View Post

I thought the saying was:

"If you've never even been to Japan, what can you really offer that is useful to this thread?"


I think we all agree that the Japanese market is unique from the rest of the world. That is evidenced in Nokia selling the most foreign made phones in Japan. Only 500,000.

Where the debate comes is in the perception that Japanese mobile technology is more advanced. We who don't live in Japan are essentially saying we don't find that technology necessarily practical or ultimately more useful.
post #137 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

I think we all agree that the Japanese market is unique from the rest of the world. That is evidenced in Nokia selling the most foreign made phones in Japan. Only 500,000.

Where the debate comes is in the perception that Japanese mobile technology is more advanced. We who don't live in Japan are essentially saying we don't find that technology necessarily practical or ultimately more useful.

I agree with you on this.

Mobile cell phone tv --- is a financial dud.

Japanese people are buying new cell phones every 3+ years now. Americans replaced their cell phones more often, so we are not that far behind in real life.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8d1c9536-8...0779fd18c.html

Nobody actually uses digital wallets in Japanese cell phones.

http://whatjapanthinks.com/2007/06/1...ts-sit-unused/

Less than 10% of Japanese actually know all the functions in the phone. And the RFID contactless payment system in the phone is the hardest thing for the Japanese to learn to use (40% in the survey).

http://whatjapanthinks.com/2008/08/1...-low-in-japan/
post #138 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

I agree with you on this.

Mobile cell phone tv --- is a financial dud.

Japanese people are buying new cell phones every 3+ years now. Americans replaced their cell phones more often, so we are not that far behind in real life.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8d1c9536-8...0779fd18c.html

Nobody actually uses digital wallets in Japanese cell phones.

http://whatjapanthinks.com/2007/06/1...ts-sit-unused/

Less than 10% of Japanese actually know all the functions in the phone. And the RFID contactless payment system in the phone is the hardest thing for the Japanese to learn to use (40% in the survey).

http://whatjapanthinks.com/2008/08/1...-low-in-japan/

All that is very interesting, but if it's really RFID, I don't understand why the payment system is supposedly hard to use, it seems it should be easier than any other feature. Just wave it within a few cm from the face of a reader, confirm the amount and that should be it. I wonder if there's some connotation with the word they used for "difficult" that doesn't translate well. Maybe there's some aspect about the fact that it involves spending money they can't touch when they are a society that strongly prefers cash.
post #139 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

people are buying new cell phones every 3+ years now. Americans replaced their cell phones more often, so we are not that far behind in real life.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/8d1c9536-8...0779fd18c.html

The Financial Times article is interesting. Because the Japanese have a closed ecosystem. Manufacturer growth come from high phone turnover. If that turnover doesn't grow or stalls it hurts manufacturer sales. They will actually have to attempt to increase sales outside of Japan. Where they have to compete more directly with western mobile needs.
post #140 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by TenoBell View Post

The Financial Times article is interesting. Because the Japanese have a closed ecosystem. Manufacturer growth come from high phone turnover. If that turnover doesn't grow or stalls it hurts manufacturer sales. They will actually have to attempt to increase sales outside of Japan. Where they have to compete more directly with western mobile needs.

The FT article said that sales in units drop 29.3% --- so it's a much bigger problem than just stalling sales.

Quote:
Originally Posted by JeffDM View Post

All that is very interesting, but if it's really RFID, I don't understand why the payment system is supposedly hard to use, it seems it should be easier than any other feature. Just wave it within a few cm from the face of a reader, confirm the amount and that should be it. I wonder if there's some connotation with the word they used for "difficult" that doesn't translate well. Maybe there's some aspect about the fact that it involves spending money they can't touch when they are a society that strongly prefers cash.

Ask an average American about Paypal --- the first 20 questions they would ask is how to put money into the paypal account (which is not exactly how it works). And the average American use debit cards and credit cards all the time.

For a cash-based society like Japan, it is going to be very difficult for them to understand.
post #141 of 156
I am curious. Can I take MY american AT&T iphone to Japan, with whatever international add-on feature that AT&T needs, & use the phone there? Also, email & browsing via wifi? I know that Japan's phone system has been proprietary for some time? With 3G technology in the iPhone does that open it up? Thanks
post #142 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac W View Post

I am curious. Can I take MY american AT&T iphone to Japan, with whatever international add-on feature that AT&T needs, & use the phone there? Also, email & browsing via wifi? I know that Japan's phone system has been proprietary for some time? With 3G technology in the iPhone does that open it up? Thanks

Same UMTS spectrum in Japan so you are fine. I wouldn't count on finding any WiFi hotspots, thought. They are apparently scarce if you believe the reports on these forums.

You need to contact AT&T before you leave to get International calling and data turned on, otherwise you'll be dead in the water.
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post #143 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Same UMTS spectrum in Japan so you are fine. I wouldn't count on finding any WiFi hotspots, thought. They are apparently scarce if you believe the reports on these forums.

You need to contact AT&T before you leave to get International calling and data turned on, otherwise you'll be dead in the water.

Thank you for that info. To be more precise, will it allow me to make local calls in Japan? as well as International?
post #144 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac W View Post

Thank you for that info. To be more precise, will it allow me to make local calls in Japan? as well as International?

Yes, but I don't know if the cost to you will be local, local with an additional charge, or some other international rate. You'll have to call or check their website for the full details.
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post #145 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Breckinridge View Post

Softbank has not officially announced the number of iPhone activations only the total number of 3G activations which they release every month. 3G activations are running 200,000 or so a month as Softbank 2G users upgrade. iPhone 3G is only part of that number.


I'd like to correct some.

SoftBank's 3G activations and 2G inactivations (upgrade to 3G + quit) in 2008.
...........Total Subscribers............3G Activated............2G Inactivated
Jan.......... 17814200 .................. 474800 ................. -274100
Feb......... 18042300 ................... 449000 ................. -220900
Mar......... 18586200 ................... 801600 ................. -257700
Apr......... 18779100 .................... 446200 ................. -253300
May........ 18952800 .................... 353200 ................. -179500
Jun......... 19111700 .................... 306400 ................. -147500
Jul.......... 19327100 .................... 449300 ................. -233900
Aug......... 19490400 ................... 386200 ................. -222900


Both the numbers of 3G activations and 2G inactivations rebounded from a gradually decreasing trend in July and August. The increase was thought as an effect of iPhone3G. I estimate it 250,000-300,000 iPhone3G users added during Jul-Aug.
post #146 of 156
If they look at the demonstration, most complaints of Japanese users about Japanese texting on iPhone will fade out.


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ul9f_euMlQ
post #147 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by DareKasan View Post

I'd like to correct some.


Jul.......... 19327100 .................... 449300 ................. -233900
Aug......... 19490400 ................... 386200 ................. -222900


Both the numbers of 3G activations and 2G inactivations rebounded from a gradually decreasing trend in July and August. The increase was thought as an effect of iPhone3G. I estimate it 250,000-300,000 iPhone3G users added during Jul-Aug.

Thanks for pointing out the data. You estimate 35% iPhones out of the total 3G activations. Interesting. In my scenario I assumed all of the 2G users were upgrading but not to iPhone (based on limited Softbank store checks), which makes a total of 378,400 new to Softbank 3G activations for July/August. Estimate 50% of those are iPhone, 189,000 units again based on limited Softbank store checks. Japan analyst estimates are running from 160,000~200,000. We won't know anything until Softbank or Apple announces something,but it is fun to compare estimates. September numbers should be interesting as Softbank store traffic seems down.
post #148 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by DareKasan View Post

I'd like to correct some.
[...]
Both the numbers of 3G activations and 2G inactivations rebounded from a gradually decreasing trend in July and August. The increase was thought as an effect of iPhone3G. I estimate it 250,000-300,000 iPhone3G users added during Jul-Aug.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Breckinridge View Post

Thanks for pointing out the data. You estimate 35% iPhones out of the total 3G activations. Interesting. In my scenario I assumed all of the 2G users were upgrading but not to iPhone (based on limited Softbank store checks), which makes a total of 378,400 new to Softbank 3G activations for July/August. Estimate 50% of those are iPhone, 189,000 units again based on limited Softbank store checks. Japan analyst estimates are running from 160,000~200,000. We won't know anything until Softbank or Apple announces something,but it is fun to compare estimates. September numbers should be interesting as Softbank store traffic seems down.

Even if the number of iPhone's sold are lower than those estimated above, the numbers still seem really good for an outside tech company on one carrier for 2 months in an advanced cell phone market.
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post #149 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

Even if the number of iPhone's sold are lower than those estimated above, the numbers still seem really good for an outside tech company on one carrier for 2 months in an advanced cell phone market.

The numbers look really bad when compare to O2' UK iphone numbers --- which at 50,000 units in the first 2 weeks and dropping to mid 30's K later and then dropping to 27,000 units a week right now --- that's about 300,000 units sold.

That's from UK with half the population as Japan.
post #150 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

The numbers look really bad when compare to O2' UK iphone numbers --- which at 50,000 units in the first 2 weeks and dropping to mid 30's K later and then dropping to 27,000 units a week right now --- that's about 300,000 units sold.

That's from UK with half the population as Japan.

I don't think it's a good comparison to measure against other countries that are Western and have had the iPhone for the past year. If the number is 200k iPhones, that is 1% of Softbank's customers adopting a foreign cellphone. I think that is pretty good for 2 months and Apple's first attempt at accommodating the Japanese cellphone market. Last year, I don't think the percentage was that high for 02 UK, T-Mobile Germany or Orange France for the 1st gen iPhone, but the next revision added HW and SW that has made it considerably more popular.
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post #151 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I don't think it's a good comparison to measure against other countries that are Western and have had the iPhone for the past year. If the number is 200k iPhones, that is 1% of Softbank's customers adopting a foreign cellphone. I think that is pretty good for 2 months and Apple's first attempt at accommodating the Japanese cellphone market. Last year, I don't think the percentage was that high for 02 UK, T-Mobile Germany or Orange France for the 1st gen iPhone, but the next revision added HW and SW that has made it considerably more popular.

It's not that simple though.

Vodafone Japan (now Softbank Mobile) has always been the favorite among expatriates working in Japan. So it may just means that 200,000 Americans working in Japan buying up all these iphones.
post #152 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by samab View Post

It's not that simple though.

Vodafone Japan (now Softbank Mobile) has always been the favorite among expatriates working in Japan. So it may just means that 200,000 Americans working in Japan buying up all these iphones.

No, it's not, but assuming that only Americans in Japan will like the iPhone seems to be an excessive over simplification. While comparing completely different markets in completely different cultures with different demands is just an odd complex situation. Comparing Japan to a Western market is an worse comparison than the US to a European country. At least the US is now getting many of the European phones fairly quickly.
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post #153 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

No, it's not, but assuming that only Americans in Japan will like the iPhone seems to be an excessive over simplification. While comparing completely different markets in completely different cultures with different demands is just an odd complex situation. Comparing Japan to a Western market is an worse comparison than the US to a European country. At least the US is now getting many of the European phones fairly quickly.

Well, with the US (wiki population 301 million) having a higher 3G handset penetration than UK+Germany+France+Italy+Spain (wiki population 305 million) --- the comparision gets even more complicated.

But this does remind me of about at least a dozen films where clueless male American teenagers travelling Europe, holding a tourist guide and searching for nude beaches in Europe --- all they managed to find are other horny American teenagers on the beach looking for nude European girls, but no actual girls on the beach.
post #154 of 156
I'd like to talk about a possible rosy future for iPhone in Japan. It will come soon.

I think there are two factors which clogged the iPhone sales in Japan. One is a flow of bad news from the US such as initial software bugs including security flaws and many lawsuits concerning 3G access speed etc.. This made people stop to watch the situation and remember iPhone would never disappear from this planet, rather expect better ones would appear later as it had happened for cases of Apple. Though the sales performance slowed, I think potential demand for iPhone which is thought exist 5 million and more, according to many survey and polls keep unchanged and reserved.

The other factor is a long-term, usually 2-year, installment buying of handset that SoftBank started in Oct 2006. SoftBank subsidizes most of subscribers' payment for new handset as long as they stay using handset (automatically they have to stay at SoftBank). Looking the success of it, the rivals ran after SoftBank by resemble contracts. All leads to suppress the mobility of users, and to delay the time of buying new handset. Nearly 80% of subscribers of SoftBank are users of this long-term contract (data not available for Docomo and others).

But the situation will change after December this year, because first party or cohort who contracted in Oct-2006 will finish the period. I explain it by data as following:



..................................... 3G users ............................ 2G users

End of Oct. 2006 ............. 4.48 million ..................... 10.49 million

End of Aug. 2008 .......... 15.95 million ...................... 3.54 million

SofBank gained 11.11 million 3G users during the period at average rate of 500,000 per month. According many consumer research and polls, around 30% are positive to buy it. Not a bit part of the party is expected to buy iPhone. And it will gain new additional buyers from month to month after Dec-2008.
post #155 of 156
Quote:
Originally Posted by Joel Breckinridge View Post

Some Japanese analysts are saying it could be as small as 160,000 units. WSJ gets most of it right but there are some missing pieces. In addition to the emoji (which are glyphs that use the Unicode free use area), iPhone does not have the one-seg digital TV reception most handsets have now or the digital wallet function. These are not the biggest drawback however, it is the poor reputation and lousy execution of Softbank.

The Softbank store experience compared to Docomo and AU is poor, the iPhone 3G phone plan is complex and Softbank has lowered the initial tier price for packet data but if you use 3G data much at all, the price has not changed. Softbank should have come out the door with lower prices but all they are doing is reacting to Docomo price cuts which does not look good in the eyes of most people here.

Despite all this there is still interest in the device and hope but only if Docomo signs on. I talked with one journalist who said that Docomo has already agreed to sell iPhone but was waiting for the green light from Apple. There is also reports from analysts that if Softbank does not hit their iPhone sales targets, Docomo will be brought online. There are a lot of Docomo users who have said they are interested in iPhone and Apple would easily hit the 1 million mark in Japan if Docomo comes into play. Will be interesting to see how it develops

JB in Tokyo



It is fun to compare the estimates and predict ups/downs while talking about causes and backgrounds, but I don't agree with most of what you wrote. It is not the case, but sounds like an expression typical to those who hate SoftBank.

Its not unusual thing that SoftBank is attacked by groundless rumors, and defamatory articles written by mass media. Because Japanese mass media is like a henchman bowing Docomo and its parent company, NTT. This forms a big gap of perception or attitude to SoftBank between consumers and mass media.

Consumers straightforwardly praise and thank for what SoftBank has done, because people enjoy the benefits of drastic price/cost down in fix and mobile telecommunication since SoftBank entered into the market. Before it, people could not but accept the highest price all over the world because of the rule under monopolistic close system and traditional institutions of Japan. Of course the rulers are NTT, Docomo(a child of NTT), and KDDI (a cousin of NTT; KDDI holds 0.12% of Docomo's common stock), a family that has maintained its status without competitors in Japan by using cozy relations among them and with administration.

By contrast, Japanese mass media has different attitude toward SoftBank from consumers. They never praise SoftBank whatever it might do. Nor have I seen they criticize and blame Docomo whatever it might do. I think the reason why the mass media in Japan has such attitude against SoftBank is their fear and wariness if it would destroy and change the order and stability in which they continued to keep happy relations and customs. So they do like henchmen bowing to their ruler.

I'd like to talk little bit different story which might be related to what you wrote.

Just before the official anouncement of SoftBank, most writers and analysts predicted Docomo would handle iPhone3G in Japan. Almonst none of experts in IT technology or gadgets or stock market, can predict it would be SoftBank who could win the race.

The situation was come from the background that many of them had heard "information" from persons of NTT Docomo as if a talk with Apple was coming to term. On a website of gadget magazine around a week before the official announcement on 3-Jun, a well-known writer was asked a qustion which company would win in the getting iPhone race, Docomo or SoftBank, he stated triumphantly, "Docomo will win at almonst 100%. Because I know it. I've already got very positive information from Docomo persons I often contact with....etc." But immediately afer it he had to know Docomo persons were lying.

It's not strange that some jurnalists and analysts, as you write, would inform you a story that Docomo will get iPhone soon, or a theory that the failure of iPhone in Japan should be attributed to the inability of SoftBank.

That is a troika of malice; the first thing is to criticize iPhone in every aspect, the second is to blame the failure (very hasty to conclude the failure!) of iPhone sales on the inability of SoftBank, and the third is to spread fake expectation of the iPhone from Docomo by the rumor.

If the troika could succeed to made iPhone powerless either in other's hand or in its own hand and no longer able to threat the company's monopolist status in this country, anyway Docomo will be happy.

Essentially Docomo is scared that iPhone could shake its monopolist status in the mobile market in Japan, because it could attract more and more cellphone users to lead to big outflow of subscribers to rival company, SoftBank.

Anyway it is absurd to jump to the conclusion only by looking at the result of first two or three months after the launch. Because both Apple and SoftBank are thought to place iPhone in a long-term strategy of business in Japan.
post #156 of 156
DareKasan,

You give far too much credit to Softbank Mobile.

Softbank Mobile uses an "accounting change" to hype up subscriber numbers. They would have lost subscribers months after months if not for the accounting change.

http://www.ft.com/cms/s/0/05da52d0-8...nclick_check=1

Softbank Mobile attracts cheap subscribers with low voice ARPU. They don't attract much subscribers who subscribe to data plans. You can check months and months of subscriber datas (go to the bottom of the website and use the previous button) --- the number of Softbank total subscriber net adds per month is a lot more than the number of Softbank subscribers net adds with data plans.

http://www.tca.or.jp/eng/database/da.../0808matu.html

The number of 3G users mean nothing --- when carriers don't sell 2G handsets, subscribers buy 3G handsets. That's how the US has higher 3G penetration rate than Europe.
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