2015 Japan - Telecoms, Mobile and Broadband

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Last updated: 14 Jul 2015 Update History

Report Status: Archived

Report Pages: 87

Analyst: Paul Kwon

Publication Overview

Japan is a country leading in technology use. The report covers trends and developments in telecommunications, mobile, Internet, broadband, digital TV and converging media including VoIP and IPTV developments. Subjects include:

  • Key statistics;
  • Market and industry analyses, trends and developments
  • Government policies  and regulations affecting the telecoms industry;
  • Estimates for end-2012 and 2013 for fixed-line and Internet market;
  • Forecasts for broadband, FttX and mobile subscribers up to 2017/2018;
  • Infrastructure development;
  • International submarine fibre optic cables;
  • Major players (fixed, mobile and broadband);
  • Major telecoms operators – profiles, financial results, subscribers, ARPU, business strategy;
  • Internet development and VoIP, IPTV;
  • Mobile voice and data markets, including 3G;
  • Broadband (FttX, DSL, cable modem, WiMAX);
  • Mobile applications including m-banking.

Researcher:- Paul Kwon
Current publication date:- July 2015 (21st Edition)

Executive Summary

Consolidation leads to major fixed and mobile broadband players

Moving towards 2016 Japan continues to show it possesses one of the most advanced telecommunications markets in the world. Operators are planning to shut down DSL networks as FttH makes up an increasing proportion of the fixed broadband market at the expense of DSL. Tough competition and technology convergence trends has resulted in consolidation and the emergence of large multi-service operators offering fixed-line telephony, fixed broadband Internet access, mobile voice telephony, mobile broadband Internet access and pay TV services. Widespread fixed broadband penetration has not foreshadowed success of new major pay TV platforms such as Hulu due to challenges posed by Japan’s vertically integrated broadcasting industry.

There were approximately 160 million mobile subscribers in Japan with the majority expected to be accessing services through LTE networks. NTT DoCoMo still has a dominant market share in terms of subscribers, 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 Softbank has emerged as the largest mobile operator when measured by revenue following its takeover of North American mobile operator Sprint.

Data makes up the majority of mobile ARPU with voice increasingly losing its importance as an application, albeit still an important one. 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 is driving investment in LTE and LTE-Advance as well as alternative wireless infrastructure such as WiFi and WiMAX.

Operators are increasing focus on higher value mobile content and applications to improve customer retention and diversify revenue sources away from commoditised access services. NTT DoCoMo, once the content leader with its i-mode platform, 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.

Key Developments:

  • Operators planning to eventually shut down legacy DSL platforms
  • NTT’s market share of the FttH market is being eroded by competition;
  • Video-on-Demand (VoD) players have emerged spearheaded by Hulu
  • Japan’s largest satellite pay TV platform is increasingly looking to South East Asia to grow revenue
  • 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.

Companies covered in this report include:

NTT; KDDI; Softbank; eAccess; eMobile J:COM; Sky Perfect; IIJ; Virtela; Willcom; UQ Communications; NHK; Hulu.

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Paul, May I congratulate you on a very successful and enjoyable afternoon with the Minister. In providing the roundtable discussions between government and industry, it highlighted the strong interest by stakeholders in Broadband and its implementation but it also presented us with other issues and opportunities that we need to address.

Dominic Schipano, CITT

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BuddeComm's strategic business reports contain a combination of both primary and secondary research statistics, analyses written by our senior analysts supported by a network of experts, industry contacts and researchers from around the world as well as our own scenario forecasts.

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