Korea’s Samsung is already huge, being the world’s number three mobile phone maker, but they have their eyes set on moving up. They are hoping to penetrate the Japanese market by supplying high-speed mobile phones to Vodafone K.K., Japan’s smallest wireless operator, as early as next summer. Vodafone K.K. already carries a number of third-generation phones from Nokia, Sony Ericsson and others.
Vodafone K.K. has a tiny 5% share of Japan’s high-speed market, well behind NTT DoCoMo (46%) and KDDI Corp. (49%). Perhaps by starting to carry some cutting-edge phones (like the world’s slimmest model) from the Seoul-based Samsung at prices as much as 10,000 yen ($86) cheaper than equivalent phones from domestic makers (like NEC), they can hope to capture a much bigger piece of the pie. What’s more, subscribers will be able to switch carriers while keeping the same numbers starting in November of next year, giving Vodafone the opportunity to steal away some of DoCoMo and KDDI’s customers.
Samsung already sells phones to Vodafone Group based out of Newbury, England, and this new agreement with Vodafone K.K. can only solidify the companies’ relationship.