Japan - Mobile Infrastructure, Broadband, Operators - Statistics and Analyses
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.
LTE represents the majority of mobile subscriptions;
Overall ARPU continues to decline despite growing data ARPU;
Operators are focusing CAPEX on LTE, with operators expected to eventually cease investing in 3G;
Increasing LTE speeds are made possible through carrier aggregation technology;
WiFi investments are being made to alleviate 3G/4G network congestion by offloading traffic;
KDDI and Samsung Electronics successfully completed a 5G handover trial on a highway in Tokyo
NTT DOCOMO's LTE-Advanced (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,