In this essay, I have attempted to examine the Japanese cellular market and have tried to analyze Vodafone's performance in that market.
Japan is the most competitive and developed market for cellular accessories and services. According to the '2006 Telecom, Mobile and Broadband market overview', Asia has been ranked as the largest regional internet market.(www.researchandmarkets.com).It is noteworthy that among the Asian nations, Japan is the regional as well as the global telecommunications leader. Empirical evidence asserts that internet penetration in the nation is high and it boasts of one of the most sophisticated broadband infrastructures in the world. Furthermore, it has been established that the mobile device is the most common and preferred medium for internet access.DoCoMo, the Japanese cellular giant is at the cutting edge and far ahead of America in offering total interoperability inside Japan. Another feature of this market is that the mobile content industry is very promising. Mobile phone content includes ringtones, standby displays, movies, games,weather reports and news. In the global scenario, Japan occupies a strategic position in the mobile content market, even though Europe is a developed market by all standards. The telecom landscape in Japan is dominated by NTT's DoCoMo and KDDI.Other operators include Vodafone and Tu-Ka.Some companies are working towards entering the 3G market, this is likely to intensify competiton.According to Japan's Telecommunications Carriers Association, the number of mobile phone subscribers reached 100.22 million as of 31st January 2007.(www.itfacts.biz).Therefore, Japan is at the forefront of the development of a ubiquitous network society. Besides this, the opportunities for 3G services are abundant. The key providers for this service are KDDI with 19.8 million 3G subscribers trailed by DoCoMo with a 17.6 million-subscriber base. Vodafone claimed 4.8% of the 3G market as of 2005 end.
Vodafone's strategic management performance:
Business week online (March 2006) had reported, 'Vodafone may beat a hasty retreat from Japan. Five disappointing years after plunging into the Japanese market with a $13.8 billion acquisition of mobile operator J-phone, Vodafone is in takeover talks with Softbank, the Tokyo based internet, broadband and telecom service provider.' The article further points out that, 'over the last few years the British giant has been losing ground. Its market share hovers around 16.7%.Vodafone's troubles in Japan were mostly self-inflicted. It had slashed the budget for network upgrades, delayed the rollout of 3G handsets and tried to make do with global handsets of other markets rather than customizing its lineup for the finicky tech savvy Japanese consumers' Therefore the biggest cellular corporation in the world was struggling in the Japanese market. Following is an examination of some of the managerial policies, which could have hindered its success in Japan.
Underperformance of the company could also be because of cultural conflicts. David Jones, CEO of the company tried to introduce the European working standards. Clashes between members affected the company's