Japan mobile internet subscribers break 20 million

Double-digit percentage growth continued in Japan's mobile internet market during October, pushing the total number of subscribers well past the 20 million mark, according to data released Wednesday by the Telecommunications Carriers Association.

Double-digit percentage growth continued in Japan's mobile internet market during October, pushing the total number of subscribers well past the 20 million mark, according to data released Wednesday by the Telecommunications Carriers Association.

The month ended with 21.8 million subscribers to mobile internet services, a 10.8% rise on the previous month. NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s I-mode saw subscriptions grow in line with the overall market, up 11%, to end October at just over 14 million subscribers (see table, below).

In the overall cellular market, October ended with the addition of 580,000 new subscribers to take the total count to 56.3 million users. NTT DoCoMo, which has made I-mode a standard feature on virtually all cell phones here today, added 462,000 new subscribers during the month, an increase of 1.4%. That indicates that around two thirds of new I-mode subscriptions during October came from existing customers upgrading their handsets to I-mode compatible telephones.

Among competing carriers the picture was broadly similar with most managing an increase in subscriptions in line with the overall market. More action in the local market is expected during November and December as new handsets are released that support Java and include functions such as MP3 players.

In the total mobile telephony market, with PHS (Personal Handyphone System) subscriptions added in, the number of users were 62.2 million. PHS is a low-power mobile telephone system, similar to PCS, used only in Japan.

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