Japan - Telecom

Japan’s telecommunications sector is one of the most developed markets in the world. Japan’s telecoms market is characterised by customers possessing a willingness to adopt new technologies combined with an increasingly sophisticated interest in the wider application of telephone lines.

Moving towards 2017 Japan’s market is served by three multi-service operators offering fixed-line telephony, fixed broadband Internet access, mobile voice telephony, mobile broadband Internet 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.

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.


The telecommunications industry in Japan has been growing exponentially over the past few years.The industry generated a service revenue of USD 119.6 billion in 2016 and is further expected to reach USD 129.5 bn,  CAGR of 1.7% between 2015-2020. Within the industry, mobile data is expected to be the fastest-growing segment with a CAGR of 7.2% between 2015-2020. In fact, mobile revenue is expected to account for 60.4% of total telecom revenue in 2020. Pay-TV is not far behind with a CAGR of 2.2% driven by increased innovation and consumer interest.

This growth in the telecom industry of Japan can be attributed to both the burgeoning middle-class needs and the increased interest of leading international players. In fact, characterized by its ultra-high speed internet services, the Japanese telecom industry is on its path to become one of the most developed one globally. Further growth and advancement is expected based on the operator’s continued interest in pursuing multi-device strategies.

The operators in the Japanese telecom industry focus more on boosting the broadband uptake in order to offset the decline in traditional fixed, mobile voice and messaging revenue. In this regard, the increased internet access for fixed services revenue to increase from 43.0% in 2016 to 49.0% by 2020, driven by the up-sell strategy of the operators.

In addition, the ongoing investment in network enhancements and advanced 5G technology will enable operators to support bandwidth intensive value-added services, such as mobile money, multimedia browsing, OTT, mobile TV and e-commerce apps, etc. Operators are focusing on diversifying their revenue streams via expanding their offerings in IoT/M2M and enterprise markets.Talking in terms of leading players.

Key Developments:

  • Continued decline in traditional fixed-line services;
  • High fibre deployment and accompanying VoIP uptake;
  • Government policies drive broadband household penetration above 70%.