Nokia to launch MVNO service in Japan

Nokia reportedly plans to launch mobile services in Japan next month, acting as a Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) on NTT DoCoMo's network.

In an attempt to increase its meager market share in Japan - where the company captures less than 1% of sales - the service will initially be offered for high-end Nokia handsets, Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun has reported.

Nokia's independently-run Japanese handset subsidiary, Vertu, last week announced it would open its first boutique store in the country in December.

The company will be offering luxury mobile phones, including gold and platinum models with prices ranging from 890,000 to 5 million yen ($8,400 - $47,400).

NTT-DoCoMo meanwhile has released its latest operating data. The company has seen a steady but slow decline in both ARPU and market share and over the past six months, with market share falling .2% to 51.5%.

The company's market share has been trending downward since at least Japan's third quarter for 2006, falling each quarter from a high of 55%.

ARPU meanwhile declined to $61.59, down from $61.90 last quarter and $70.10 in Q3 2006. And churn rate reached 0.52%, up by 0.01% from a year ago but down from a peak of 0.94% 12 months ago.

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