Japan’s Third Largest Carrier, Softbank, To Acquire Fourth Placed eAccess In Share Swap Worth $2.6BN

Japan’s third largest carrier, Softbank, is to acquire fourth-placed carrier eAccess in a share swap deal valued at just under ¥200 billion ($2.6 billion), Reuters is reporting (original story at the Nikkei business daily).

The deal is aimed at acquiring customers and bulking out Softbank’s spectrum frequency holdings to support LTE services, according to the reports.

Softbank, whose charismatic CEO Masayoshi Son is the man with the 300-year business plan, will gain enough customers to put it within touching distance of Japan’s second placed carrier, KDDI. Reuters reports that Softbank and eAccess together had 34.3 million users, as of the end of August — to KDDI’s 35.9 million. First placed carrier, NTTDoCoMo has more than 60 million mobile customers.

Back in August NTTDoCoMo announced that subscribers to its LTE service Xi had passed the five million mark. The service — Japan’s first LTE offering — was launched at the end of 2010.