Vodafone teams with Softbank for Japan

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Vodafone has established a joint venture with Softbank to develop services and handset features in the high-tech Japanese market.

Vodafone completed the sale of its Japanese unit to internet company Softbank in a £8.9bn deal in April. The sale ended a torrid period for Vodafone in the Far East, where it had struggled to keep pace with local competitors that used a different network technology.

Until the sale, Vodafone had said it wanted to remain in the Japanese market to benefit from the innovative services and technology used there. Japanese mobile phone users can already use handsets to make purchases while other handsets use fingerprint recognition to identify the user. Vodafone argued that it could then export those advanced services to its other operations around the world.

The deal with Softbank enables Vodafone to maintain its Japanese presence without the need for massive investment to keep up with rivals such as KDDI and NTT DoCoMo.

The joint venture, in which Vodafone will own 50 per cent, will be established by the summer.