Around the World in Nine Blog Posts – Post 6 – Japan
In virtually every market we have discussed (and will discuss), there are several key factors that are determining the market’s adoption of LTE:
- Regulatory implementation
- Operator speed of 4G network deployment and device availability
- Subscriber/User willingness to move to 4G
Those three issues have driven the markets.
But Japan is different. And before I discuss LTE, we need to take a look at the facts for this market:
- There are already five million LTE subscribers in Japan, which puts the market in third place, behind the United States and Korea, in terms of raw numbers.
- The top three players in the market – NTT DoCoMo, KDDI and Softbank (including Altair customer Willcom) all have a history of very fast roll-outs for new mobile technologies.
- These three players have 150 million mobile subscribers between them.
- The Japanese regulators have a history of not standing in the way of innovation for this market.
Okay, now let’s figure out what this all means …
Japanese users have clearly demonstrated a willingness to move ahead to 4G. Not only that, but Japanese operators have already deployed 4G networks, albeit WiMAX networks. But they also know that the future is all about LTE, so they are moving in that direction as well.
But the LTE infrastructure is very much a work in progress, so it will take a bit more time until we see what we’ve historically seen from Japan, namely explosive growth.
If I had to give an estimate of when we will see it all play out, I’d say that Japan will be lots of fun to watch in the second half of 2013 through the first half of 2014, which, when you think about it, isn’t so far away.
Next stop … India!