Corporate History

1984 - 1990

Oct. 1984 The former JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. founded.
Dec. 1986 Established Railway Telecommunication CO., Ltd.
May 1989 Railway Telecommunication CO., Ltd. merged with the former JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. and changed the company name to JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD.

1991 - 2000

July 1991 Established Tokyo Digital Phone Co., Ltd. (After this, two companies of Digital Phone Group and six companies of Digital TU-KA Group were established.)
Apr. 1994 Tokyo Digital Phone Co., Ltd. launched second generation mobile telecom service. (After this, two companies of Digital Phone Group and six companies of Digital TU-KA Group launched their services sequentially.)
July 1994 Established DDI Pocket Planning Inc.
Oct. 1995 DDI Pocket Inc. commenced PHS Service nationwide.
Nov. 1997 Digital Phone Group achieved e-mail transmission on mobile phone alone for the first time in Japan*1.
Nov. 1998 JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. established IMT-2000 Planning Co., Ltd.
Digital Phone Group launched Sky Melody, the first*1 mobile telecom ring tone distribution service.
Oct. 1999 All companies of Digital Phone Group and Digital TU-KA Group changed the company name to J-Phone.
Nov. 1999 eAccess Ltd. established.
Apr. 2000 IMT-2000 Planning Co., Ltd. changed the company name to J-Phone Communications Co., Ltd.
May 2000 J-Phone Communications Co., Ltd. became a holding company of J-Phone Group.
BB Technologies Corporation established.
Oct. 2000 J-Phone Group formed a three-operator nationwide organization through the merger between J-Phone East Co., Ltd., J-Phone Central Co., Ltd., and J-Phone West Co., Ltd.
J-Phone Group launched Station, the first*1 area-based information broadcasting service in Japan for mobile phones.
eAccess Ltd. launched commercial ADSL service.
Nov. 2000 J-Phone Group released J-SH04, the first mobile handset*1 mounting a digital camera.

2001 - 2010

Sept. 2001 BB Technologies Corporation began providing comprehensive broadband service Yahoo! BB.
Oct. 2001 J-Phone Group became an affiliate of Vodafone Group Plc (UK).
Nov. 2001 J-Phone Communications Co., Ltd., a holding company merged with J-Phone East Co., Ltd., J-Phone Central Co., Ltd., and J-Phone West Co., Ltd. and became J-Phone Co., Ltd.
Apr. 2002 BB Technologies Corporation started providing IP telephony service BB Phone.
BB Technologies Corporation launched full-scale demonstration experiments of Yahoo! BB Mobile, an ultra-high-speed wireless Internet access service.
Aug. 2002 JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. changed the company name to JAPAN TELECOM HOLDINGS CO., Ltd. and became a pure holding company.
J-Phone Co., Ltd. released J-SH09, the first*1 mobile handset in the world to incorporate a QR code reader function.
Dec. 2002 J-Phone Co., Ltd. launched the first*1 W-CDMA third generation mobile telecom service in the world compliant with 3GPP standards.
Jan. 2003 SoftBank BB Corp. established through the merger of BB Technologies Corporation, SOFTBANK Networks Inc., SOFTBANK EC HOLDINGS CORP., and SOFTBANK COMMERCE CORP.
July 2003 SoftBank BB Corp. established the Broadband Association to provide a forum for interaction among companies in various industries and to conduct promotional and educational activities concerning broadband.
Oct. 2003 J-Phone Co., Ltd. changed company name to the former Vodafone K.K.
Nov. 2003 SoftBank BB Corp. decided to offer Yahoo! BB in Hachijojima in Tokyo, as part of measures to bridge the digital divide caused by geographical constraints.
Dec. 2003 JAPAN TELECOM HOLDINGS CO., Ltd. changed the company name to Vodafone Holdings K.K.
The former Vodafone K.K. released V601N, the first*1 mobile handset in Japan to mount a terrestrial analog TV tuner.
SoftBank BB Corp. launched a service using the 050 number for BB Phone.
Jan. 2004 An attempted extortion occurred relating to customer information of SoftBank BB Corp.
Mar. 2004 SoftBank BB Corp. established the Privacy Management Advisory Board and the Technical Advisory Board.
July 2004 JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. joined the SoftBank Group.
Oct. 2004 Vodafone Holdings K.K. and (former) Vodafone K.K. merged and changed the company name to Vodafone K.K.
SoftBank BB Corp. and Yahoo Japan Corporation announced the launch of Yahoo! BB hikari, a new comprehensive broadband service using optic-fibers.
SoftBank BB Corp. used Ms. Aya Ueto as its new celebrity spokesperson.
SoftBank BB Corp. filed a lawsuit demanding the suspension of “Draft Plan for IMT-2000 Frequency Allocation in the 800MHz Frequency Band” by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
Dec. 2004 Vodafone K.K. launched Global roaming video call, a Japan first*1 video phone call function for mobile phones, supported overseas as well.
JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. launched new fixed telephone service Otoku Line.
Jan. 2005 EMOBILE Ltd. established.
Feb. 2005 Vodafone K.K. released V603SH, the first*1 mobile handset in the world to mount a motion control sensor detecting tilt or movements of the handset.
Apr. 2005 BB Mobile Corp. obtained a license for experiment stations of 1.7GHz from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.
May. 2005 BB Mobile Corp. obtained a license for W-CDMA experiment stations of 1.7GHz from the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications. Started demonstration experiments of the method.
Nov. 2005 Vodafone K.K. launched LOVE Flat, the first*1 service in mobile telecom to allow unlimited calls and mail transmission to a designated recipient.
Apr. 2006 Vodafone K.K. became an affiliate of the SoftBank Group.
May 2006 Vodafone K.K. launched first One Seg compatible AQUOS® mobile phone, Vodafone 905SH.
Sept. 2006 Vodafone K.K. launched pay installment sales of handsets (Super Bonus)*2.
Oct. 2006 Changed the Vodafone K.K. company name to SoftBank Mobile Corp. (currently SoftBank Corp.) and changed the brand name to SoftBank.
Changed the JAPAN TELECOM CO., LTD. company name to SoftBank Telecom Corp.
Jan. 2007 Launched a new price plan for mobile phones, White Plan.
Feb. 2007 Released SoftBank 812SH, a PANTONE® model with mobile handset first*1 20 color variations.
Mar. 2007 Launched Double White, discount option service exclusively for White Plan.
EMOBILE Ltd. commenced “EM Mobile Broadband” service in the metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Nagoya, Kyoto and Osaka.
June 2007 Launched White Plan Family Discount 24, a mobile phone discount service for family users.
Nov. 2007 SoftBank BB Corp. (currently SoftBank Commerce & Service Corp. following company split) launched SoftBank SELECTION to sell products such as accessories for mobile phones and software for PC.
Mar. 2008 Achieved No.1 in net additions of mobile phone subscription for FY2007.
Released Internet Machine 922SH, a mobile phone with an integrated full keyboard.
June 2008 Started providing White Call 24, a voice call discount service that offers 24/7 free domestic calls between SoftBank mobile phones and BB Phone IP phones.
July 2008 Started selling iPhone.
Jan. 2009 The number of cumulative SoftBank mobile phone subscriptions exceeded 20 million.
Feb. 2009 Obtained a license of experimental wireless station for a wideband mobile wireless access technology, Long Term Evolution (LTE) system and started outdoor demonstration experiments.
Nov. 2009 EMOBILE Ltd. launched Pocket WiFi (D25HW), a 3G all-in-one mobile Wi-Fi router.
Feb. 2010 SoftBank Telecom Corp. launched cloud service, White Cloud.
Mar. 2010 Announced SoftBank Network Enhancement Initiative.
Terminated the second generation mobile phone service.
May 2010 Started selling iPad.
July 2010 Launched Unlimited Packet Discount for Overseas, packet flat-rate service for overseas.

2011 - to date

Mar. 2011 The cumulative number of SoftBank mobile phone subscribers exceeded 25 million.
eAccess Ltd. merged with EMOBILE Ltd.
Aug. 2011 Started Charity White, a program for subscribers to donate regularly on support activities for the Great East Japan Earthquake.
Feb. 2012 Launched SoftBank 4G (AXGP standard), the industry's fastest*3 data communication service.
May 2012 Started demonstration experiments of balloon radio relay system using balloon.
July 2012 Launched the communication service using 900 MHz band.
Aug. 2012 Total SoftBank mobile phone cumulative subscribers exceeded 30 million.
Sept. 2012 Launched FDD-LTE standard high-speed data communications service, SoftBank 4G LTE.
Oct. 2012 Won Gold medal in Best Contact Center category at the World Conference of Contact Center World Award 2012.
SoftBank Telecom Corp. launched Effective Customer-Leads Platform for O2O service jointly with Yahoo Japan Corporation.
Jan. 2013 eAccess Ltd. joined the SoftBank Group after completing a share exchange with SoftBank Corp. ( currently SoftBank Group Corp.)
Feb. 2013 Launched SoftBank satellite phone service.
Mar. 2013 Launched Double LTE service utilizing 1.7GHz spectrum owned by eAccess Ltd.
July 2013 WILLCOM, Inc. became a subsidiary of SoftBank Corp. (currently SoftBank Group Corp.) in line with order for termination of rehabilitation proceedings.
Sept. 2013 Launched Japan's first LTE global roaming service.
Mar. 2014 Launched KazashiteBokin, Japan's first donation platform to use smartphone applications*4.
Apr. 2014 Commerce & Service business of SoftBank BB Corp. split out to establish new company, SoftBank Commerce & Service Corp.
June 2014 eAccess Ltd. and WILLCOM, Inc. merged, with eAccess the surviving company
Announced ‘Pepper’, the world's first personal robot that reads emotions, which was jointly developed with ALDEBARAN Robotics SAS.
July 2014 Began offering new price plan for mobile phones, Smartphone Flat-rate.
Began providing T Point services.
eAccess Ltd. changed company name to Ymobile Corporation.
SoftBank Telecom Corp. and SB Power Corp. began power retail business for corporate customers.
Aug. 2014 Developed vehicular balloon-moored Wi-Fi system.
Began offering AQUOS CRYSTAL, a model jointly developed with Sprint Corporation.
Ymobile Corporation began providing services under the new Y!mobile brand.
Sep. 2014 Started offering America Flat-rate Option.
Concluded disaster response agreement with Japan Ground Self-Defense Force.
Dec. 2014 Started providing VoLTE voice communication services.
Made disaster response agreement with Japan Coast Guard.
SoftBank BB Corp. began offering SoftBank Air, a high-speed, unlimited Internet service made possible by simply placing a connection terminal.
Feb. 2015 SoftBank Telecom Corp. and IBM Japan, Ltd. formed strategic alliance to develop and introduce IBM Watson for Japan.
Mar. 2015 SoftBank BB Corp. launched discount for bundling of SoftBank Hikari, a fiber-optic broadband service, and mobile phone services.
Invested in Tpoint Japan Co., Ltd.
Apr. 2015 SoftBank BB Corp., SoftBank Telecom Corp. and Ymobile Corporation merge with SoftBank Mobile Corp. (currently SoftBank Corp.)
May. 2015 Announced Mobile E-commerce Revolution.
Jun. 2015 Pepper, the world's first robot that reads emotions, goes on sale in Japan.
July 2015 Company name of SoftBank Mobile Corp. changed to SoftBank Corp.
Oct. 2015 Formed strategic partnership with JTB Corp. for inbound Japan tourism business.
Nov. 2015 Designated November 11 as “Good Shopping Day” with Yahoo Japan Corporation, Family Mart Co., Ltd., TSUTAYA Co., Ltd. and Tpoint Japan Co. Ltd.
[Notes]
  • *1
    Surveyed by the Company (as of the time of announcement).
  • *2
    For new price plans such as White Plan, the New Super Bonus is available.
  • *3
    Among mobile data communication services being offered in Japan as of May 29, 2012, based on published data from other companies and industry standard values. Communication speed is subject to the specification of devices.
  • *4
    Based on Japan Fundraising Association research (as of March 5, 2014)