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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.
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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.
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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.