Softbank to tie up with utilities firm in mobile phone venture

11 Aug 2006

Softbank has agreed to team up in a wide area of business activities including mobile phone operations with Tokai, a Shizuoka-based energy and telecom firm.
Softbank aims to boost sales of mobile phone handsets through its partnership with the Tokai group and is considering leasing its telecom facilities to Tokai or sharing fiber-optic and other networks, Softbank said.
Softbank entered the mobile phone business by striking a deal in March to acquire Vodafone K.K., the Japanese unit of British mobile phone carrier Vodafone Group.
Specifically, the two corporate groups will begin cooperating in Vodafone mobile phone marketing by the time the mobile number portability system is launched in November, allowing phone users to change service providers while retaining their old mobile phone numbers.
Softbank might lease part of its telecom facilities so that Tokai can act as a virtual mobile phone carrier.
Softbank also wants to use Tokai's fiber-optic telecom network to be built between Tokyo and Nagoya to bolster its broadband service while allowing Tokai the use of its similar telecom infrastructure in regions east of the northern part of the greater Tokyo area and areas west of Osaka.
Also under study is collaboration related to content distribution and telecom infrastructure development in the area of broadband services.
Tokai on the other hand said the alliance with Softbank will enable it to offer a greater variety of services. It already presides over operations including gas distribution, Internet and CATV services as well as security service.

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