Japan, Amazon, FTTH, keitai

AP: Four Japanese companies to combine Internet provider business
Bringing together the Net-services businesses of NEC Corp., Matsushita Electric Industrial Co., KDDI Corp. and Japan Telecom Co. will bring together 10 million subscribers, surpassing Fujitsu’s @nifty service with about 5 million subscribers.
“We realized that it takes a great deal of investment to create attractive broadband content,” said NEC spokesman Yasuhito Jyochi. “The level of investment required is a huge burden for any one company.”

I predict bad things with this venture. See the recent Mizuho bank merger failure due to technology. The bigger these merger projects get, the greater the chance for failure.
I also don’t think people want “attractive broadband content” in the model that we currently have (cable TV/satellite, etc.) People use internet technologies interactively, not passively like they do with TVs. I just don’t think that creating content is going to drive broadband- it hasn’t done so effectively in other areas.

* * * * *

How lean can Amazon get?
By cutting costs and boosting margins, Amazon says it can pass along some of the savings to consumers. On the day it reported its first profit, Amazon announced it would offer free shipping on orders over $99; it says its margins allow it to provide that offer indefinitely.

* * * * *

–> Nagoya users get FTTH Internet
The Chubu Electric Power Company has announced that from
this Fall, it will start offering fiber-to-the-home (FTTH)
Internet services to users in Nagoya. Access will be at
100Mbps, for a fee of only JPY10,000/month. CEPCO owns over
20,000km of fiber and intends to expand the network to
40,000km. (Source: TT commentary from Nikkei, Apr 20, 2002)

* * * * * *

NYT: Japan Slow to Accept New Phones
Nearly 60 percent of the Japanese own cellphones, and persuading them to trade in their trusty year-old models for newfangled ones is becoming tougher. The economy is at a standstill, and the number of new mobile-phone subscribers has fallen for seven consecutive months. Carriers are signing up fewer than half a million new customers a month, one-third as many as a year ago. Worse, the 3G handsets, packed with cameras and stereo sound, are twice as expensive as are the older handsets with similar functions. And though the new handsets, with data links of up to 384,000 bits a second, allow users to download video and audio clips and hold videoconferences, the more complex functions also lead to higher connection fees.