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Declining business forces PHS company to sell out

Date Posted: 2004-12-02

Astel Okinawa, a local Okinawa PHS mobile phone company, is being absorbed by a Tokyo-based business.

The local company, owned by Okinawa Electric Power Company, cites declining revenues and higher costs with its 38,000 customers as reason for the sale. Company president Ken Tamaki says business hasn’t been so great, so DDI Pocket Company is taking it over. DDI will hold 80% of the stock, while Okinawa Electric Power Co. maintains the balance.

Customers will not see price increases as a result of the sale, says Tamaki. He says costs will be the same, but customers will need to change telephones from the current free models to ones costing ¥5,500.

“Our company is making a profit,” says Tamaki, “because the Okinawa Electric Power Co. is making money. Astel PHS Phones has been a big minus. It’s collapse is because not many people are using our PHS phones any more. We need to protect our customers, so we’ve sold the Astel Okinawa side of the company to DDI.”

Tamaki says Astel Okinawa’s 25 employees will be integrated into DDI’s staff, while jobs for 12 part time workers are still being worked on. Tamaki says Okinawa Electric Power Co. will do its best to help them find employment.

Astel Okinawa was founded ten years ago, with ¥1 billion operating capital provided by Okinawa Electric Power Co. Astel, with high operating and maintenance costs, lost ¥48 billion in 2003. Tamaki reports the company’s already lost more than ¥1.2 billion this year.

Tamaki says his job is to protect Okinawa Electric Power Co., and to keep its profits healthy.

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