A major setback in Japan deflates Vodafone’s one-size-fits-all strategy [The New York Times]

Service problems, a botched rollout of its third-generation phone network and a skimpy lineup of new handsets have driven away Japanese Vodafone customers in droves.

The company admits that its biggest misstep was a decision to focus its lineup in Japan on what it calls “converged handsets” – mobile phones that Vodafone released in December in 13 countries simultaneously. By offering the same phones to many of its 165 million worldwide subscribers, Vodafone hoped to drive down handset prices.

But the one-size-fits-all approach backfired in Japan. Features that were acceptable in Europe or the United States appeared primitive and clunky in Japan. Consumers here are used to getting new technologies like high-resolution color screens, two-megapixel cameras and full internet access a year or two before the rest of the world.

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