Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Docomo tries again to push feature phone users to smartphones

Docomo has increased the discount to ¥20,000 on it's two "must have" phones, the Galaxy S4 and the Xperia A. The two discounts together can lower the total cost to the user to just ¥5,000.

Of course there's a catch; you'll have to have been a customer for 10 years or never owned a smartphone:
  • The "Thank you for 10 years" discount: ¥10,000
  • The "First smartphone" discount: ¥10,000 (upgrade from i-mode feature phone)
Obviously, these are targeting the crowd still clutching desperately to their feature phones. These same users tend to be long-time users of Docomo. Docomo has been getting killed by KDDI and Softbank, with 1.4 million mobile numbers ported out in 2012 alone. Around the world, Android and especially Samsung are taking the market from Apple's iPhone — except in Japan where the iPhone still dominates.

Scary for Docomo, that all those walled garden, loyal i-mode users who pay for the "value" added services might be wooed away by the iPhone.

However, there are also positive signs. For example, the year-over-year contract numbers increased for the January-March quarter after Docomo released the Xperia Z. Kato said they "try many things based on the customer response during January to March, and the summer model will be a trigger".

The GALAXY S4 (SC-04E) includes a 5 inch organic EL full HD display(1080 × 1920 pixels). The black and white models went on sale May 23, and the "Blue Arctic" domestic-only version will be released in mid June.

The Xperia A (SO-04E) is the domestic version of the Xperia ZR that Sony announced on May 13. It is 4.6 inches with a 720 × 1280 pixels display. The Xperia includes a number of "galapagos" features, such as water resistance, one segTV and Docomo's NOTTV It was released on May 17 in 4 different colors.

See here for more [J]


  1. Recent numbers has Android at 57% of the Japanese smartphone market. Leaving the iPhone with about 40% or so (allowing a couple of points for oddball systems). So iPhone is common, but it doesn't dominate. Rather, the problem for DoCoMo is twofold: they have popular Android phone models, but so do the other two carriers — and they have the iPhone as well. Second, they have the largest subscriber base, which means that everything else being equal they'd still have the largest number of people leaving from the nature of random diffusion. I wonder how many more people they are really losing once you take the size difference into account.

  2. Antoine BourgeoisMay 21, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    This shows that Docomo might finally guess what was wrong in their smartphone strategy...
    For years, they only proposed junk smartphones, until they were forced to start working with Samsung and started selling the Galaxy models, which saved their asses...

    You write the Xperia Z is helping getting (or keeping) more customers? Of course!!
    How come Docomo has never understood that the smartphone customers do not buy a phone BECAUSE of the bloatware but DESPITE it being there.
    The day Docomo will start proposing many flagship phones with the minimum bloatwares and regular/fast OS upgrades, they will be rich. But even their Galaxy Nexus is getting the OS upgrades 6 months after the rest of the world...

    The only reason I am still with Docomo is that they are the only carrier letting customers use SIM free smartphones bought overseas with a good network quality.

  3. A ClimatSens for Samsung Galaxy S4 shows a Temperature, Light, Humidity and Atmosphere Pressure data on the screen in real time. https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=ru.alekseevsoft.climatsens