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Willcom to file for bankruptcy soon?

Chris Ziegler

In Japan's perpetually white-hot mobile market, Willcom kinda got the short end of the stick by virtue of the fact that it uses PHS -- a tricky, rare standard that requires significantly more cells to operate than CDMA and UMTS. If the company falls into financial collapse -- as Nikkei English News is reporting today that it will -- we'd wager a bet that its continued use of PHS and its subsequent failure to obtain the same scales of economy as its competitors led directly to the bankruptcy. The apparently filing could come as early as next month, possibly splitting the firm into two chunks: one to see the legacy PHS network through the remainder of its life and a second, forward-looking bit that would possibly fall into SoftBank's paws and lead the charge on a 4G build-out. We'd hate to see any company with the strategic foresight to build a concept teddy bear phone go bankrupt, of course -- but in the long term, it could be for the best in Japan's competitive wireless landscape.

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