NTT DoCoMo in jeopardy - Japan's largest mobile carrier and the ghost of old AT&T Wireless

Bnr_docomo2_w147NTT DoCoMo still has more than 50% market share in terms of the cummulative number of subscribers in Japan, but has been forced to sit at the second place in monthly subscriber acquisition number, after KDDI, for consecutive 10 months until April. May number was announced today, which was even more disappointing for DoCoMo - now they are at the bottom.  Softbank (former Vodafone Japan) won the top position for the first time with 162,400 new subs, while KDDI got 138,500 and DoCoMo mere 82,700.

Source:  TCA (English version)

DoCoMo started to run a new campaign called "DoCoMo 2.0" with the release of FOMA904i series, featuring several popular TV/movie celebs in its new TV CM, but that campaign is drawing a harsh criticizm in Japanese blogosphere, that there is no substance despite of its glitzy appearance.  The only major new feature is that a user can load two phone numbers and two mobile mail address on one handset, so s/he can use one handset for both private and business use.  Apparently, it was not appealing enough to convince people to come back to DoCoMo, after they are branded as the biggest loser in mobile number portability (MNP) battle that started last October in Japan.  Looking at May figure, the campaign is even backfiring them.

Mr. Takeshi Natsuno, a flamboyant and charismatic figure of the DoCoMo's successful i-Mode team, was as confident as usual at the product launch event, but I am afraid his focus and DoCoMo's focus on the real needs of their users are getting blur right now. 

I have lots of friends in DoCoMo, so I am really concerned that some of them may be now haunted by the ghost of old AT&T Wireless - not the new one that used to be Cingular, but the original one - which went under after the MNP was implemented in the U.S.  I hope they get back on their focus before it is too late.