Japan enables number portability, churn ensues

For the first time in Japanese wireless industry history, yesterday subscribers could switch carriers and hang on to their old mobile number. Electronics stores across the country had one of the busiest days on record as an estimated 200,000 subscribers switched carriers. DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank emerged from their government protected bubbles with sharpened weapons like dropping prices, giveaways and high school girls' favorite shade of pink. Yes, the stakes are that high.

Early estimates indicate the first round of churn proclaimed KDDI as winner, which lured 100,000 subs away from its rivals. DoCoMo enjoyed a slightly smaller boost, thanks in part to its all-celebrity line-up of marketeers.

For more on Japan's portability rules:
- see this article from The Times Online

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