Japan’s cell phone users pass 70 million

The total number of mobile phone subscribers in Japan passed 70 million as of the end of August while the use of wireless Internet services grew to represent two-thirds of all users, according to the Telecommunications Carriers Association.

NTT DoCoMo Inc. remained the nation’s dominant carrier with a total of 38 million subscribers, equivalent to a 59 per cent market share. DoCoMo managed a 0.7 per cent increase from the previous month, as did KDDI Corp.’s Au unit, which is the second largest mobile telecommunication company.

Japan Telecom Co. Ltd.’s J-Phone unit enjoyed a larger 1.7 per cent increase in August. J-Phone had 184,700 new subscribers, which was more than twice as many as Au’s 83,300. Its market share, which is now 16.8 per cent, is only 1.2 per cent behind Au.

Over the last 10 months, J-Phone has launched several handsets with built-in digital still cameras and is enjoying strong sales from them, said Arata Kurihara, a spokesman for J-Phone. As of the end of July, it had sold around 1.5 million digital still camera handsets.

Subscribers for wireless Internet services are steadily increasing with the total now at 43 million, although August’s 3.3 per cent increase from the previous month is the lowest month-on-month increase since the TCA started reporting the number of wireless Internet service subscribers in May 2000.

The TCA, in Tokyo, can be contacted at