Thursday, August 05, 2004
Will Son-san's next move take the fat out of Japanese mobile telephony?
In researching my column on "The Japanese Miracle" for VON Magazine, I got this extraordinarily specific and intriguing prediction from Tom Kobayashi, of Triangle Technology. [Note, while reading the below, remember that Yahoo!BB has a simple, low cost, capacious and upgradable network that can run on anybody's dark fiber] :
. . . let me predict what will happen next. The next generation broadband "tsunami" is VOIP, scaled-up FTTH and mobile BB. The government policy is already in place. Who would drive this BB "tsunami?" Mr. Son again. Softbank has acquired Japan Telecom that has strong enterprise customer base. Now he has obtained the major infrastructure to compete against incumbents. He will expand VOIP services to enterprise customers with a scaled-up ADSL services using the Japan Telecom infrastructure. As you know, Softbank is planning on entering cell phone business (actual deployment in 2006) and requested the government to allocate a band of 2.1GHz to Softbank. There have been oppositions from the incumbents, but I don't think the government can turn down Softbank's request. Son will make full use of his BB infrastructure to provide basically VOIP for the mobile phone as well. When he gets the frequency allocation, he will announce a revolutionarily low monthly charge. This will trigger a price war in the mobile phone industry. And the next thing he will do is to enter FTTH business aggressively. To that end, there will be another acquisition (Poweredcom? Usen?). In any case, Japan's BB tsunami continues and will become more interesting.
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