Mobile phones are as much a part of Japanese daily life as chopsticks. For the 3 competitors in this industry that's not necessarily a good thing because the market is so saturated that there are 90 million subscribers in a country with about 120 million population. Is it an understatement to say that new subs hard to come by? As of the end of January NTT DoCoMo (DCM) controlled 55.8% of the market with au by KDDI at 27.4% and Vodafone (VOD) at 16.8%.
As far as I am concerned "Vodafone is dead" ... unless within this year it can capitalize on the fact that a large majority of its subs are still on 2G and if brand loyalty exists it can keep a large majority of them on board for a 3G migration (see the last paragraph in this post) . If it can introduce captivating new services and handsets it just might be able to revive itself back to the good old days when it was a strong competitor in the #2 spot with KDDI. Those were the days prior to its acquisition by Vodafone when it was known as J-Phone.
For a good story on Vodafone Japan check out Kenji Hall of Business Week in, "Can Vodafone Get Through?"
DCM 1-yr chart:
VOD 1-yr chart: