DoCoMo targets 50% stake in smartphones

by Mariko Yasu and Shunichi Ozasa

Bloomberg

NTT DoCoMo Inc., the nation’s biggest mobile-phone company, expects to increase its smartphone sales to more than half of the national total this fiscal year as it introduces new models, the company’s finance chief said.

The market share will rise from 46 percent in the year that ended March 31, Chief Financial Officer Kazuto Tsubouchi said Friday at DoCoMo headquarters in Tokyo.

DoCoMo, the only carrier among Japan’s three largest mobile-phone operators that doesn’t offer Apple Inc.’s iPhone, will introduce 16 models by August, it said last week. The new ones, including Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy series, will help DoCoMo win customers, Tsubouchi said.

“The market isn’t driven solely by iPhones any longer,” Tsubouchi said. “Each of the new models can compete with iPhones with improved memory capacity, speed or touch-panel sensitivity.”

KDDI Corp., the second-largest carrier, said last week it will introduce five new smartphones. Softbank Corp., the third-biggest, is set to unveil new models May 29.

DoCoMo will probably have a net addition of 2.8 million subscribers this 12-month period, compared with 2.28 million in the preceding year, it said April 27.

The carrier aims to sell 13 million smartphones this year, up from 8.82 million in the prior 12-month period. It will probably beat the target, Tsubouchi said.

“The growth speed of smartphone sales in Japan has been faster than we anticipated,” he said.

Net income in the year that started April 1 will rise 20 percent to ¥557 billion ($7 billion) as sales increase 5 percent to ¥4.45 trillion, the company forecast last month, citing higher data transmission fees and handset sales.

DoCoMo will probably hike capital expenditures to ¥735 billion this year to strengthen cloud services and improve network capability, from ¥726.8 billion the previous period, it said April 27.

The company expects to pay a dividend of ¥6,000 a share in the 12 months ending March 31, up from ¥5,600 a year earlier, it said