Hard-pressed Japanese mobile operator NTT DoCoMo has waded into the retail broadband business.
The new service will be available from March 1. Many of the service bundles will be sold in the same way as DoCoMo's mobile data offerings, giving families the ability to pool their data packages and benefit from monthly savings of up to 3,200 yen ($27).
NTT DoCoMo Inc. (NYSE: DCM) announced the new service as it reported an 11.2% decline in net income during the nine months ending December 2014, compared with the same part of 2013. The company attributed this to the continued impact of its move to a discounted price structure early last year, which resulted in flat revenue of 3.3 trillion yen ($28.2 billion) over the same period.
CEO Kaoru Kato said the company would not be offering rebates as generous as those it had provided last year to attract customers, acknowledging the firm had "learnt our lesson."
The announcement, which had been expected for some weeks, is also a strategic move by NTT Group (NYSE: NTT) to shift some of its broadband business to DoCoMo. The mobile operator, 59.3% owned by NTT Corp, is the strongest brand in the group.
Kato said he hoped to attract the 18 million customers of the NTT fiber service FLET's to docomo Hikari "as quickly as possible."
He said DoCoMo had set a "near-term benchmark" of 1 million customers but that it "had not developed a detailed plan" for take-up targets beyond that.
As well as the discount prices, DoCoMo's other pitch is simplifying the complexity of ordering broadband. In Japan, retail customers are required to buy the fiber or VDSL connection separately from the ISP service, and are billed separately. Kato said DoCoMo's retail outlets are now a "one-stop shop" for the fiber connection and ISP and mobile services.
— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading