We've done similar research on Network Loyalty in Japan here at IUJ
(although not posted online, I can send the paper free of charge to
anyone interested). Fundamentally, churn in Japan is incredibly low,
with all operators reporting churn rates of less than 2% (DoCoMo below
1% in Q4 2004, au at 1.5% and Vodafone around 1.8%).
For this research, we used a panel of 500 Japanese mobile subscribers
for 3 months. We asked people's "intentions" to switch (along with a
number of other variables such as attitudes, subjective norms, etc.) and
subsequently captured their actual loyalty behaviors post-upgrade. The
interesting thing that we found was that 39% of respondents "intended"
to switch providers, but remained loyal (This is typically called
"spurious loyalty", and is a source of major concern as this is a
company's population of "at risk" consumers). So while churn numbers
remain low in Japan today, there is a significant population of
subscribers who are interested in moving to a new provider if the
switching costs can be lowered. And since we know that number
portability is one of the highest "costs" associated with changing
network operators today, the market should be extremely interesting to
watch after November of this year.
Regarding a previous post about Vodafone's profitability, while their
2005 net income was high (162 billion yen), their 5-year performance in
Japan has been anything but smooth. In 2001 their net income was 17.5
billion yen, in 2002 however they had a net loss of 66 billion yen, they
recovered in 2003 with net income at 79.5 billion yen, only to have a
net loss of 100 billion yen in 2004.
And according to the Nikkei Marketing folks, the Yahoo! brand is one of
the top 10 consumer brands in Japan, while Vodafone (as well as the
other mobile network operators) do not score on this list. Will Softbank
continue with their plans to use the "BB Mobile" name, or will they
negotiate for the rights to use the Yahoo! brand for their mobile
Paul Lester wrote:
> I don't now... I just switched to AU and then switched out as fast as possible.
> I didn't like the features of the phone or the network that much. I wonder if that
> research is actually accurate. And my friends using Vodafone do not plan
> on changing at all.
Assistant Professor of Marketing
International University of Japan
777 Kokusai Cho, Minami Uonuma-shi
Niigata, 949-7277 Japan
Office Tel/Fax: 81-(0)25-779-1400
Received on Fri Mar 10 07:27:15 2006