A new report from the ROA Group says that the number of mobile users in Japan will increase to 121 million by 2011 and the penetration rate in the Japanese market will grow to 95.4% by 2011.
As the Japanese market is reaching the saturation point, competition among the three operators, NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, and SoftBank intensifies in terms of network, contents and devices. In this circumstance, the operators are also aiming to extend their businesses abroad. DoCoMo is now planning to commercialize Long Term Evolution (LTE) service for the first time in the world by 2010, and its rival SoftBank is to introduce the service about the same time. UQ Communications, a KDDI-led joint venture, and WILLCOM are planning to commercialize Broadband Wireless Access (BWA)-based mobile WiMAX service and next generation PHS service respectively in 2009, which is a year earlier than the planned launch of LTE by DoCoMo.
Looking at the general trend in price policy, it seems that two-year contracts are becoming common in the Japanese market.
In June 2007, DoCoMo introduced a new discount rate plan based on a two-year commitment. SoftBank and KDDI immediately followed the suit. For rate plans, unlike SoftBank and EMOBILE, both KDDI and DoCoMo are not offering free-call (flat-rate) service between those who use the same network. However, KDDI and DoCoMo may introduce 24-hour free call service in the future based on their business results, and it is expected that free-call service (flat-rate) will be widespread in Japan by 2011, says Steve Lee, Chief Consultant at ROA Group.
Source: Cellular News.