J-Phone to reorganize to better fight NTT DoCoMo

Japan Telecom Co. Ltd. and Vodafone Group PLC have announced plans to reorganize J-Phone Group, Japan’s number three cellular carrier, through the merger of several companies into one.

The merger will see J-Phone Communications Co. Ltd., the current holding company, absorb its three regional operators, J-Phone East Co. Ltd., J-Phone Central Co. Ltd. and J-Phone West Co. Ltd. Following the merger, J-Phone Communications will be renamed J-Phone Co. Ltd., the companies said in a statement Friday.

After the merger, Japan Telecom will hold 45.05 per cent of J-Phone, Vodafone will have a 39.67 per cent share and other shareholders will account for the remaining 15.28 per cent of the company. Vodafone, through its 45.0 per cent stake in Japan Telecom, will have a total economic interest in J-Phone of 59.94 per cent.

The reorganization plans are part of the company’s attempt to overtake number two operator KDDI Corp. and better compete with NTT DoCoMo Inc. At present, J-Phone has a 16.8 per cent share of Japan’s cellular market that puts it behind KDDI’s 18.1 percent share, although the carrier is slowing gaining month by month on its rival. Despite the proximity of the two carriers, market leader NTT DoCoMo remains well ahead of the competition with a 58.9 per cent share.

In addition to the new structure, Vodafone said it is also bringing on Darryl Green, currently president of Asia Global Crossing Japan and an old Japan hand that has served at various carriers including AT&T Japan, to help chart its course in Japan. The company has nominated Green to be president of the new J-Phone company. He will be one of the six board members that Vodafone has the power to nominate, out of a total of 13, with others including the director of marketing and sales, and the director of financial management.

Japan Telecom, in Tokyo, can be contacted at


. Vodafone, in Newbury, England, is at