Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 01/09/2014 -- Japan's telecommunications industry is one of the most advanced in the world, with demand for new technology and services. This is evident in the rapid uptake in 4G services reported during Q213, to the extent it is beginning to substitute 3G subscriptions. This trend is one which is limited to a handful of countries in the world, marking Japan out as a global innovator. The telecoms sector is important to the country's development, playing a key role in driving economic growth by equipping consumers and businesses with a comprehensive network of fixed-line, mobile and broadband services. Although the country is facing an ageing population and limited subscriber growth potential, operators are able to maintain revenue growth through technological advancements, as well as the constant introduction of new products and services.
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- Mobile subscriptions have continued to increase, reaching 144.437mn by the end ofQ313. BMI forecasts the mobile market will continue to expand, reaching 160.89mn subscriptions with penetration set to rise to 128% by 2017.
- LTE subscription growth has accelerated and is beginning to substitute for 3G services which are now in decline as a result. NTT DoCoMo data reported that LTE subscriptions had reached over 15mn in the quarter and finished Q213 with 20.362mn. With KDDI and Softbank following NTT in launching services, we expect LTE will drive development of both the mobile and broadband market in the short-tomedium term.
- ARPU levels are expected to continue trending down as a consequence of smartphone ownership - which is posing a threat to traditional service revenues through IP substitution for voice and SMS. While data ARPU is increasing, it is not enough to stop the overall decline, with market average blended ARPU down 5.6% in 2012, to JPY4,503.
Key Trends And Developments
The Japanese government has started a public consultation on the revision of spectrum usage fees for the 2014-2017 fiscal period. The country's Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has issued a draft document outlining the proposed reforms, under which wireless service operators could be seen as public service providers, thereby nearly halving any telecoms-related fees. The government believes the reduction would also result in the encouragement of new wireless technologies. The application deadline for the public consultation was July 24 2013.
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