Japan mobile Internet subscriptions hit 60 million

Just over 60 million people in Japan, or roughly four out of every five people who own a cellular telephone, are now signed up for mobile Internet services, according to data just released.

The number of mobile Internet subscriptions stood at 60.2 million at the end of January while the number of cellular subscriptions was 73.9 million, according to the Telecommunications Carriers Association, which collects subscriber data from Japan’s cellular operators.

Even with the high penetration, appetite for the services is healthy although growth has been slowing. A total of 700,000 new subscribers were added to mobile Internet services in January compared to 900,000 in the same month a year ago and 2.4 million in January 2001.

Just over half of all users are subscribers to NTT DoCoMo Inc.’s I-mode service, which has 36.6 million users. KDDI Corp.’s Au unit has the second-largest number of users at 11.9 million and Vodafone Group PLC’s J-Phone Co. Ltd. unit is close behind with 11.7 million subscribers.