Recently published figures from the Japanese telecoms regulator show that the trend established in the latter half of 2007 continued in the first month of 2008, with Softbank extending its run of market-leading performances to nine months. In fact, Softbank's January figure of 201k new connections represented 59.8% of the total net additions for Japan, the highest percentage it has ever claimed. KDDI's combined au and Tu-Ka offerings added 83k while DoCoMo managed just 20k, lower even than startup 3G operator eMobile, which added 33k.
Of course, the level of stratification in the Japanese market means that DoCoMo's lead is nigh-on unassailable in terms of overall customer numbers, with 53.17m connections at the end of January compared to 29.64m for KDDI and 17.81m for Softbank. However, DoCoMo's market share continues to slide inexorably downwards, with a 0.2pp drop in January taking it to 52.7%. This compares to 54.8% a year earlier. KDDI gained 0.6pp year on year, although it has been stuck on 29.4% since August, while Softbank finished on 17.7%, a 1.2pp yearly gain.
In total, the Japanese market reached 100.86m customers at the end of January, with the level of W-CDMA penetration up to 55.1% from 41.6% a year earlier.
Percentage of monthly net additions by operator
Source: Cellular News.