Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 08/30/2012 -- BMI's Q312 report on Japan's telecommunications market provides a comprehensive overview of the latest developments to occur within the country's mobile, fixed-line telephony and internet sectors. Japanese telecoms operators, the Telecommunications Carriers Association and the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications have released data pertaining to the end of March 2012, which has allowed us to fine tune our forecasts.
Data from mobile market leader NTT DoCoMo showed that its 3G subscriber base has started to contract even though the firm terminated its 2G network on March 31 2012 as subscribers embrace the operator's new LTE network. The phenomenon could become industry wide as rivals KDDI and Softbank launch their LTE services by end-2012. However, the growing adoption of mobile data services has not translated into an equivalent improvement in operators' financial performance. Intense competition and changing consumer behaviour are forcing operators to lower tariff rates in order to attract subscribers and service usage.
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The migration of technology would indicate that Japan's mobile market is approaching saturation with limited long-term growth potential, and this is reflected in our low single-digit growth forecast. By end- 2016, we envisage 158.699mn mobile subscribers in the country, representing a penetration rate of 126.1%. The broadband industry has been also benefited from the launch of LTE services. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications categorises LTE as 3.9G technology and it has included it in the broadband subscriber calculation. We expect mobile broadband technology to spur growth in the sector and we forecast 58.535mn subscribers by end-2016, representing 46.5% penetration rate.
Recent figures released have reflected a slight improvement in the economic activity in Japan, a trend we expect not to hold up for the rest of 2012 and into 2013. We continue to expect overall growth in private consumption and investment to remain subdued as the drivers of the recent spikes look to wane by mid- 2012. With little upside for net exports as uncertainty surrounds economic conditions in the US and China, and public consumption and investment set to remain held down by budgetary pressures, we have maintained our growth forecast for 2012 and 2013 at 1.4%, versus consensus expectations of 1.5% in 2012 and 1.4% in 2013.
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