The Telecommunication Carriers Assoc. (TCA) released their official updated Japan mobile subscriber details (see graphic on our left nav.) for the month ending March 2007. While we had mentioned several times recently that March is the traditional handset replacement month, even WWJ was impressed to see the volume of activity achieved. KDDI’s AU brand continued to show the way with a net increase of 530,000 while DoCoMo, with their latest models line-up becoming more widely available, added a respectable 298,000 new contracts. SoftBank Mobile reported a total gain of 127,000 compared to only 63,000 year-on-year for March 2006 when the company was still running as Vodafone. By far the most interesting numbers relate to the continued migration towards 3G.
Under TCA’s “reference by system” section we note that March 2007 saw a total drop of just over 1.8 million PDC – or 2G – subscribers (compared to 1.3 million a year earlier) and that DoCoMo recorded 1.4 million new 3G contracts. While it has been reported many times that the domestic market has reached its saturation point at just below 80%, however, last months net increase of almost 1 million new subscribers demonstrates, especially when compared to most EU mobile markets at 100% and beyond, that Japan still does have some room for growth. We also note that the carriers official portals gained just over 950,000 new subs with AU again adding more than the competition combined. The country now has about 70% of it’s user base on 3G and, while it seems to have gone without notice, that just might have something to do with the fact that DoCoMo’s last 2G models (the 506i-series) were launched back in May of 2004 and are basically no-where to be seen on store shelves here today!