The Growth of Japanese Mobile Data Traffic is Slowing Down

Some reports forecast Mobile data traffic in Japan is rapidly growing. But, the reality is different. The following graph is based on the Japanese government report (Aggregation and Preliminary Calculation of Internet Traffic in Japan).


You can see the growth rate of mobile data is decreasing every year. And, last year the terrestrial growth rate exceeds the mobile.

Note (my modifications to the original) :  quartered terrestrial traffic (the original is half), calculated growth rate (the original does not have).


As with the status of the world, video viewing and viewing time on smartphone  are increasing in Japan. I try to show some deceasing factors.

Smartphone penetration

Several reports say, in 2014, the diffusion rate of smart phone in Japan exceeded 50%. After that, the diffusion rate is slowing down according to the general market penetration curve. I guess the high mobile traffic growth was caused by  rapid conversion to smartphone from old cell phone.

Wifi Traffic offload

Wifi Traffic offload is also in progress. The following offload rate are from KDDI (No2 Japanese MNO)

  • Mar 2012 : 20%
  • Mar 2013 : 52%
  • Mar 2014 : 57%

Also, Japanese government report say

  • 69.7% of Smartphone user (who has terrestrial line in home) connect Internet in home by home Wifi.

High packet fee

As the following graph (Docomo Wholesale price to MVNO), equipment cost of  MNO is decreasing, however consumer packet fee remains high for several years (around $10/GB) . Japanese consumers have a high dissatisfaction in this high packet fee. And this is the reason of the slow down in penetration rate.



Explosion of mobile traffic is a fantasy, as long as the MNOs do not offer cheap enough packet plan, the growth of mobile traffic would be sluggish.