DoCoMo Employees Fudge the Numbers
By Eric Lin, Mon Mar 08 22:30:00 GMT 2004
January's figures for Japanese mobile subscribers weren't a fluke, DoCoMo was looking bad in February too- so bad that one district's employees signed up for for 800 extra subscriptions at the end of the month to boost dwindling numbers.
Although DoCoMo's rate of growth has slowed lately, they still have added new customers every month. But last month DoCoMo Kyushu, a subsidiary covering the southern island, was about to suffer a net loss of subscribers for the first time. To avoid the shame of being the first subsidiary to actually lose more customers than they gained, employees signed up for 800 new subscriptions at the end of the month to boost the numbers, according to a translation from Dottocomu.
Of course no one may have noticed this trick except that the employees all cancelled their contracts a few days later, raising flags in the company database. DoCoMo Kyushu has apologized and will punish the employees. Even though it is unlikely that 800 subs could have effected the numbers much outside of Kyushu Island, this has caused DoCoMo as a whole to look pretty stupid. February's numbers have not been released yet, but we're willing to bet DoCoMo will be in the black, even with Kyushu's net loss.
Dottocomu echoes the stories we've been hearing that KDDI's AU service, their Infobar handset, and their flat rate data tariff putting the hurt on DoCoMo. Recently DoCoMo announced they would offer a flat rate data plan as well, but they have not opened the plan or announced the price to date. DoCoMo's brand is so strong that when they start a flat-rate plan, they should be able to stop bleeding subscribers. Apparently the DoCoMo employees couldn't wait for this to happen.