You know how the Japanese mobile business works, it’s really different from the rest of the world. Operators in Japan take the lead in product development, they decide what should be included in the new series, out-source the development to manufacturers and then buy in the phones as OEMs. (To read more, try the link quoted below) Since the Mobile Number Portability (MNP) system has been launched, all the Japanese operators have to dig customers from eachother. And they do this by price slashing and holding phone buffets. This morning the big boy from AU KDDI (2nd largest operator in Japan) made it clear that they would expect the phone markets to behave more like that of home appliances. In other words, it’s about having a super broad portfolio and a lower individual volume. For the autumn/winter season, AU KDDI has announced 12 new models, Softbank 13 models with 54 color variations, NTT DoCoMo puked out 14 models all at once. We also know that AU KDDI has got at least 12 more under its sleeves. 2007 is going to be an interesting year.
— Sam Chan
IR meeting report [ITmedia]
Introduction to the Japanese Mobile Business [Xumdeo blog]