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Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT)

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We downgrade our recommendation for Nippon Telegraph & Telephone (NTT) to Underperform ahead of its fourth quarter of fiscal 2010 financial results.

We remain concerned regarding the less-than-anticipated sales of mobile handsets due to weak economic conditions in Japan, together with significant declines in ARPU, as subscribers migrate to discounted service plans. The company is facing intense pricing pressure from smaller telecom service providers.

KDDI and Softbank are gradually improving their mobile networks with 3G/4G technologies. Near saturation of the Japanese wireless market also remains a major problem. Severe competition together with Nippon's leveraged balance sheet may restrict higher valuation levels over the near-term.

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