DoCoMo Targets 50% of Japan Smartphone Market With New Models

NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s biggest mobile-phone company, expects to increase its smartphone sales to more than half of the nation’s 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 ended March 31, Chief Financial Officer Kazuto Tsubouchi said in a May 18 interview at the company’s 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 smartphone models by August, it said last week. The new phones, 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., Japan’s second-largest mobile-phone carrier, said last week it will introduce five new smartphones. Softbank Corp., the third-biggest, is set to unveil new products May 29.

DoCoMo will probably have a net addition of 2.8 million subscribers in the current 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 fiscal year, rising from 8.82 million in the prior 12-month period. DoCoMo 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 started April 1 will rise 20 percent to 557 billion yen ($7 billion) as sales increase 5 percent to 4.45 trillion yen, the company forecast last month, citing higher data transmission fees and handset sales.

DoCoMo will probably increase capital expenditure to 735 billion yen this fiscal year to strengthen cloud services and improve network capability, from 726.8 billion yen in the previous 12-month period, it said April 27.

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

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