Docomo to replace 30% of shops with online service

Jiji Press
NTT Docomo Inc. President Motoyuki Ii speaks during an interview with Jiji Press.

TOKYO (Jiji Press) — NTT Docomo Inc. will close about 700, or some 30%, of its mobile phone shops in Japan by fiscal 2025 and instead open a “virtual store,” President Motoyuki Ii said in a recent interview.

Online staff will respond to customer inquiries about a wide range of services, including those outside the telecommunications field, such as the Docomo Denki household-oriented electricity business, according to the company chief.

Meanwhile, Ii revealed that the number of applications to subscribe to NTT Docomo’s “ahamo” low-cost smartphone plan doubled after rival carrier Rakuten Mobile Inc. recently announced the termination of its zero-yen plan for light users.

Describing the surge in applications as only temporary, Ii pointed to the need to provide “services that customers hope to continue using.”

He suggested that NTT Docomo will not launch such promotion campaigns as a rival company’s “effectively zero-yen” pitch to attract customers from Rakuten Mobile.

About the government’s policy of promoting competition in the mobile industry, Ii questioned the policy’s emphasis on encouraging users to switch to different carriers. “The time will come to reconsider it,” he said.