J-Phone to change name to Vodafone

Japan’s number three cellular carrier, J-Phone Co. Ltd., will change its name to Vodafone KK from October this year, the company has announced.

The name change will occur on Oct. 1, almost two years to the day since Vodafone Group Plc completed its acquisition of Japan Telecom Co. Ltd. and with it gained control of the Japanese fixed-line carrier’s cellular subsidiary. Vodafone recently announced a deal to sell the fixed-line operations it bought with that acquisition to U.S. investment company Ripplewood Holdings LLC.

J-Phone is currently Japan’s third-largest cellular carrier in terms of subscribers. It had 14.6 million subscribers at the end of August, according to data from Japan’s Telecommunications Carriers Association. That placed it close behind KDDI Corp.’s Au unit, which had 15.1 million subscribers, and well behind market leader NTT DoCoMo Inc., which had 44.9 million subscribers, according to the same data.