Japan mobile market moves towards 5G
Japan’s telecommunications sector is one of the most developed markets in the world. Japan’s telecoms market is characterised by customers possessing a willingness to adopt new technologies combined with an increasingly sophisticated interest in the wider application of telephone lines.
Moving towards 2017 Japan’s market is served by three multi-service operators offering fixed-line telephony, fixed broadband access, mobile voice telephony, mobile broadband access and pay TV services.
Japan’s fixed line market is dominated by incumbent operator NTT. However with a saturated fixed-line telephone subscriber market (on a per household basis), mobile has emerged as the major force in Japan’s telecoms market. The emphasis on mobile has allowed new market entrants to enter and grow in the market despite NTT’s dominance of the fixed market.
The number of broadband lines in Japan has shown stagnant growth in recent years due to the increasing availability and affordability of mobile broadband platforms. This has taken away much of the traffic due to the convenience associated with mobility and the ability to support delivery of popular internet content and applications. Moving into 2017, DSL subscribers continued to decline as customers continue to shift to FttH.
Moving into 2018 there were approximately 160 million mobile subscribers in Japan with the majority expected to be accessing services through LTE networks. Japan’s mobile market place remains an aggressive arena given the mature nature of the market. With few new subscriber acquisition opportunities operators are focused on acquiring subscribers from each other as well as satisfying and retaining existing ones.
Japan’s mobile market is dominated by three major operators – NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank Mobile, with the established order unlikely to be challenged anytime soon by another infrastructure operator. Compared with the past when voice was the main source of revenue, significant amounts of spectrum are required to offer competitive mobile broadband services at significant scale.
Data makes up the majority of ARPU although voice remains an important application. Overall ARPU is declining due to competition as well as Over-The-Top (OTT) product substitution for messaging and voice.
Operators are also increasing focus on higher value mobile content and applications to diversify revenue sources away from commoditised access services and also to improve customer retention.
There is severe price competition in the Japanese MVNO market, but the growth rate is still high. As such new MVNOs could enter the sector within the next five years.
Moving towards 2018 Japan possesses one of the most advanced and largest broadband markets in the world. Much of the success of broadband in Japan is owed to the stunning growth surge that occurred on the back of DSL broadband technology. Since then Japan has focused investment on FttH and on cable to a lesser extent. The faster speeds afforded by these technology platforms has seen both increase in popularity at the expense of DSL, with FttH representing almost two thirds of total fixed broadband subscriptions. Japan has also been an early adopter of triple-play models which provide TV, broadband internet and voice telephony as packaged services from a single provider.
Recognising the potential of applying ICT to improve both social and economic development, Japan has taken steps to develop a digital economy. Businesses, governments and private citizens have been instrumental in creating the online content and services that make up the digital economy.
Japan possesses a vibrant multichannel pay TV industry with services readily accessible across Japan via cable TV (CATV), satellite, IPTV and Over-the-top (OTT) Video-on-Demand (VoD). Total pay TV subscriptions are steadily growing with penetration household penetration levels lower than that of the UK or USA, indicating room for potential growth.
What is interesting to note is that although Japan has the necessary physical infrastructure to support OTT VoD, pure OTT players have not found much success as Japanese broadcasters, as the largest Japanese content producers, have traditionally been reluctant to release content to the OTT players believing it will cannibalize advertising revenue.
KDDI acquired Japanese fixed broadband provider BIGLOBE.
Softbank Telecom partnered with Alibaba Group to co-develop public cloud computing services.
NTT Corp announced plans to collaborate on the development of next generation 5G wireless technologies
Operators are focusing CAPEX on LTE, with operators expected to eventually cease investing in 3G;
WiFi investments are being made to alleviate 3G/4G network congestion by offloading traffic;
NTT DOCOMO’s LTE-A networks is being developed to support speeds of up to 1Gbps.
Softbank Mobile selected Ericsson to deploy its Radio Dot System in Japan over the next two years to 2019,
Continued decline in DSL subscriptions, down to under 10% of the total fixed broadband market;
FttX subscriptions comprise the majority of the fixed broadband market;
Implementation of strong government policies over a decade see over 90% of households with access to FttX;
Strong growth in WiMAX
Japan’s is well positioned to showcase the benefits of e-health given its demography and market characteristics.
Companies mentioned in this report:
NTT; KDDI; Softbank Mobile, Internet Initiative Japan, eAccess, eMobile; Willcom.
1. Key statistics
2. Telecommunications market
2.1 Market Overview and Analysis
3. Regulatory environment
3.1 Historic overview
3.2 Regulatory authority
3.2.1 The MPHPT/MIC
3.2.2 Radio Regulatory Council
3.2.3 Telecommunications Council
3.2.4 Telecommunications Carriers Association
3.2.5 Japan Internet Providers' Association (JAIPA)
3.3 Government policies
3.3.1 Government investment in infrastructure
3.3.2 Skill building, education and demand programs
3.3.3 Competition policy
3.3.4 Network non-discrimination
3.3.5 Spectrum policy
3.3.6 Broadband Policy
3.3.7 Wholesale / Pricing
3.5 Carrier PreSelection (CPS)
3.5.1 MYLINE calling categories
4. Fixed network operators
4.1 NTT Corporation
4.1.1 Company Overview
4.1.2 Financial statistics
4.1.3 Operational statistics
4.1.4 International expansion
4.2 KDDI Corporation
4.2.1 Company Overview
4.2.2 Business strategy
4.2.3 Financial statistics
4.3 Softbank Corporation
4.3.1 Company background
4.4 Internet Initiative Japan (IIJ)
4.4.1 Company overview and background
4.4.2 Financial statistics
5. Telecommunications infrastructure
5.1 Overview of the national telecom network
5.2 NTT NGN
5.3 Submarine cables
5.3.2 NTT and TransTelecom of Russia (HSCS)
5.3.3 Russia-Japan Cable Network (RJCN)
5.3.4 Trans-Pacific Express Cable Network (TPE)
5.3.5 Pacific Crossing (PC-1)
5.3.6 Google investments
5.3.7 Asia Submarine Express (ASE)
5.3.8 Asia Pacific Gateway (APG)
5.3.9 South-East Asia Japan Cable (SJC)
5.3.10 KDDI landing station
5.5 Specific IT developments
5.5.1 Cloud Computing
5.6 Smart infrastructure
5.6.1 Internet of Things (IoT)
5.6.2 Smart grids
5.6.3 Smart cities
6. Broadband market
6.1 Introduction and statistical overview
6.1.1 Market Overview and analysis
6.1.2 Broadband statistics
6.1.3 Forecasts broadband subscribers 2016; 2018; 2021
6.2 Fixed Broadband Technologies
6.2.1 Hybrid Fibre Coax (HFC) networks
6.2.2 Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) networks
6.2.3 Fibre-to-the-Premises (FttP) and Fibre-To-The-Home (FttH)
6.2.4 Fixed wireless
6.2.5 Other fixed broadband services
6.3 Fixed Broadband Providers
6.3.1 Market Developments
7. Digital media
7.2 Pay TV
7.3 Digital TV
7.4 Cable TV (CATV)
7.5 Satellite TV
7.5.1 SKY PerfecTV! Communications Inc (Sky Perfect JSAT)
7.6 Internet Protocol TV (IPTV)
7.7 Video streaming
8. Digital economy
9. Mobile communications
9.1 Market Overview and Analysis
9.2 Mobile statistics
9.2.1 General statistics
9.2.2 Mobile broadband statistics
9.2.3 Forecasts mobile subscribers 2016; 2018; 2021
9.3 Regulatory issues
9.4 Mobile infrastructure
9.4.1 Digital networks
9.4.2 Other infrastructure developments
9.4.3 IoT and M2M networks
9.5 Major mobile operators
9.5.2 NTT DoCoMo
9.5.4 Softbank Mobile
9.6 Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
9.7 Mobile Content and Applications
Table 1 Country statistics Japan 2016
Table 2 Telephone network statistics 2016
Table 3 Internet user statistics 2016
Table 4 Broadband statistics 2016
Table 5 Mobile statistics 2016
Table 6 National telecommunications authorities
Table 7 Fixed line-Subscribers and penetration 1993-2016
Table 8 NTT major shareholders
Table 9 NTT financial data 2000 2017
Table 10 NTT proportion of operating revenue by segment 2010 2016
Table 11 NTT subscribers by service 2015-2016
Table 12 NTT video service subscribers 2009-2016
Table 13 KDDI financial data 2001-2016
Table 14 KDDI total capital expenditure on mobile and fixed line 2005-2016
Table 15 Softbank major shareholders
Table 16 IIJ revenue and net income 2006-2016
Table 17 Broadband subscribers and penetration 2005-2016
Table 18 Historic-Fixed broadband subscribers by access type 1998 -2015
Table 19 Historic-Fixed broadband subscriber annual change / market share by access type 2001-2015
Table 20 NTT Broadband subscribers and market share by segment 2004 2016
Table 21 Internet users and user penetration 2006-2016
Table 22 Total international internet bandwidth 2003-2016
Table 23 Japan-broadband subscriber forecast 2016; 2018; 2021
Table 24 Historic-Japan FttH subscribers and penetration 2002 2015
Table 25 ADSL and FttH subscribers 2005 2016
Table 26 Cable TV operators market share 2009-2016
Table 27 NTT video service subscribers 2009-2016
Table 28 Mobile subscriber, annual change and penetration rate 1995-2016
Table 29 Mobile broadband subscribers 2012-2016
Table 30 Japan-mobile subscriber forecast 2016; 2018; 2021
Table 31 Mobile subscribers in Japan by operator and market share 2016
Table 32 Carrier share of mobile telephone and PHS market 2004-2016
Table 33 NTT DoCoMo major shareholders
Table 34 NTT DoCoMo revenue, net income, capex and EBITDA 2005 2016
Table 35 NTT DoCoMo ARPU and churn 2004 2016
Table 36 NTT DoCoMo subscribers (thousands) 2011-2017
Table 37 KDDI mobile subscribers 2011-2016
Table 38 KDDI au ARPU, MOU and churn 2001 2016
Table 39 Softbank subscribers (thousands) by segment 2007 2016
Table 40 Softbank financial data 1995 2016
Table 41 Softbank mobile ARPU and churn 2004-2016
Chart 1 Japan fixed-line subscribers 2005-2016
Chart 2 Broadband subscribers and penetration 2005 2016
Chart 3 Japan mobile subscribers and penetration 1995-2016
Exhibit 1 NTT Group structure
Exhibit 2 Softbank operations
Exhibit 3 Major global/regional submarine cables with landing point in Japan
Exhibit 4 NTT DoCoMo investment in international operators
Single User License:
Enterprise Wide License:
NTT, KDDI, Softbank Mobile, Internet Initiative Japan, eAccess, eMobile, Willcom.
paul budde communication, buddecomm, telecomunications research, country profile, Broadband Fixed, Broadcasting, Companies (Major Players), Digital Media, Internet, Mobile & Wireless Broadband and Media, Mobile Communications (voice and infrastructure), Regulations & Government Policies, Strategies & Analyses (Industry & Markets), Telecoms Infrastructure, Asia, Japan
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