TOKYO (08/09/2000) - The total number of mobile telephone subscriptions in Japan smashed through the 60 million mark during July as mobile Internet service users also passed 15 million, the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications and Telecommunication Carriers Association announced Tuesday.
The number gives mobile telephones a 47.5 percent penetration rate confirming Japan's position as one of the world's leading mobile telephone markets.
The landmark figure was broken thanks to rises in both conventional cellular subscriptions, which ended July at 54.4 million, and in the lower-powered PHS (Personal Handyphone System) service, which ended July at 5.9 million. The precise number of users at the end of the month was 60.23 million, said the ministry.
The cellular market continues to be led by NTT DoCoMo Inc., the wireless provider of Japan's Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. At the end of July it had just under 31.6 million subscribers which gave it a market share of 58.1 percent.
Its nearest competition is way behind but this will become a much bigger threat from October when three competitors complete a previously announced merger.
Combined today the three companies, DDI Corp., KDD Corp. and Nippon Ido Tsushin Inc., would have 13.9 million users or a 25.6 percent market share. This is still less than half of DoCoMo's share but makes a much more formidable competitor.
July also saw the number of subscribers to cellular telephone based Internet services break the 15 million mark. NTT DoCoMo's I-mode service easily leads the market with around two-thirds of all subscribers. The carrier said separately Monday that subscriptions to I-mode broke the 10 million [M] mark on Sunday [See "NTT DoCoMo I-mode Subscriptions Pass 10M," August 7.]The nearest competitor to I-mode is the WAP (Wireless Application Protocol)-based EZ-Web service which is already being jointly offered by DDI Corp. and Nippon Ido Tsushin Inc. ahead of their merger. At the end of July the service had just over 3 million subscribers for a 20 percent market share.
Mobile Telephone Subscriptions in Japan (Source: Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications) Cellular Telephone Subscriptions Personal Handyphone System Subscriptions Total Mobile Telephone SubscriptionsEnd of 1996 20,877,000 6,030,000 26,907,000End of 1997 31,527,000 6,727,000 38,254,000End of 1998 41,530,000 5,778,000 47,308,000End of 1999 51,139,000 5,707,000 56,846,000End of July 2000 54,376,000 5,854,000 60,230,000