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Mobile Video Soars in Japan

One mobile carrier in Japan increased subscribers to its LTE network fourfold since December 2011

As reported previously, nearly 80% of mobile phone users in Japan watched video on their mobile devices in December 2011, a trend that is only being accelerated by the spread of smartphones and long-term evolution (LTE) subscriptions in the country.

According to a March study from MM Research Institute, a market research firm in Japan, 22.2 million smartphone users in Japan will watch video on their devices in fiscal year 2012 (April 2012-March 2013), with another 5 million paying to do so. On both counts, this is almost double the number of users than in FY2011, and MM Research Institute expected paid users to double again by FY2015.

The biggest driver of this increase in mobile video consumption is simple: smartphones. Smartphone ownership in Japan is expanding rapidly as consumers in the country trade up from “high-spec feature phones,” as Google labeled them in January. eMarketer expects smartphone users in Japan to reach 35.3 million in 2012 and 92 million by 2016, when more than four out of five mobile users in the country will have a smartphone.

In addition, the latest smartphones to be released are taking advantage of new long-term evolution (LTE) networks, high speed data networks that will reduce mobile consumers’ reliance on fixed-broadband and Wi-Fi in an already highly mobile country. A press release from NTT DoCoMo, one of the largest mobile carriers in the country, announced that by July 2012, they had signed up more than 4 million LTE subscribers, up from only 1 million in December 2011.

According to NTT DoCoMo’s press release, its LTE service has a max download speed of 75 megabytes per second (MBPS), more than enough for users to watch the latest videos on the go.

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Check out today’s other articles, “Will Mobile Ads Make a Mark for Facebook?” and “SearsLatino Embraces Cultural Variations in Mexico and the US.”

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