Japan - Mobile Market - Overview, Statistics and Forecasts
Moving into 2016 there were approximately 160 million mobile subscribers in Japan with the majority expected to be accessing services through LTE networks. The overall Japanese mobile market remains in a dynamic period of activity. NTT DoCoMo still has a dominant market share, benefitting from its ex-monopoly status and the significant conservative customer base associated with ex-monopoly telecom operators, particularly in Japan due to its aging population. However, rivals KDDI and Softbank are steadily eroding NTT DoCoMo's market share.
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. The need to maintain data ARPU by offering superior data products has driven investment in LTE and LTE-Advanced. The high amount of traffic generated by today's devices and the need to alleviate the impact of such devices on 3G/4G networks during peak usage periods is driving investment in alternative wireless infrastructure such as WiFi and WiMAX, mirroring a trend seen in other advanced markets such as South Korea.
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. NTT DoCoMo has changed its content and application strategy by disaggregating its mobile and content platform from the underlying network platform, essentially mirroring the OTT delivery model of content players such as Yahoo, Google and Facebook.
This report provides an overview of Japanese mobile technologies and mobile data and content services. Providing extensive market, technology and operator based statistics, forecasting on mobile subscribers is also provided up to 2020.
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 made to alleviate 3G/4G network congestion by offloading traffic; Mobile content and applications is receiving increased focus as revenue growth from mobile data ARPU is expected to fall due to the mature market.