Japan Mobile Internet Use Continues to Surge

TOKYO (06/02/2000) - Strong growth in the Japanese Internet market continued in April, highlighted by a large jump in the number of people with Internet-capable cellular telephones and the number of cable Internet service providers, Japan's Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications (MPT) announced yesterday.

At the end of April, the number of subscribers to cellular Internet services, which allow users to send and receive e-mail and view Internet Web sites specially produced for the small screens on cellular telephones, totaled 9.31 million, an increase of 24 percent on the previous month.

Among the five cellular mobile Internet services, NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s I-mode service is the market leader. It had 6.5 million subscribers at the end of April, according to the carrier, to give it a 70 percent market share. Earlier this week the company announced I-mode surpassed 7 million subscribers during the last week of May.

More Japanese in April also got the ability to access the Internet through their local cable television networks. The MPT figures show the number of cable TV operators providing a cable Internet service jumped from 89 at the end of March to 105 at the end of April. The ministry does not provide details on subscriber numbers.

In the conventional dial-up market, just over 400,000 new subscribers joined the ranks of Internet users at the nation's 15 largest Internet service providers during April, taking the total number of subscribers, at the large ISPs, to 12.4 million.

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