Softbank's Not The Only Threat To Incumbents In Japan
In the news about the approval of three new entrants into Japan’s mobile market, much of the talk has focused on Softbank, marking it as the biggest threat to KDDI and NTT DoCoMo because of its overwhelming success in Japan’s DSL market. But don’t forget eAccess, which has had its own success in the DSL market, built on reselling NTT’s dark fiber. Without a doubt, the Japanese mobile market is in for a shakeup, as subscribers there pay some of the highest rates in the world, making it a prime target for the companies to come in with rates that deeply undercut the incumbents, as they did in the DSL space. Of course, the economics of building out a wireless network are a little different, but eAccess says it will buy equipment and handsets from any manufacturer, not just Japanese ones — and it and the other new entrants likely won’t use traditional cellular technologies like WCDMA or EV-DO, but rather newer, faster ones that promise cheaper transmission costs. Softbank may be the early favorite of the three newcomers, but the opportunity is there for eAccess and IPMobile as well. All the attention Softbank gets (helped by its president’s antics), though, might give the other two companies a bit of breathing room.