NTT Docomo, Inc. - statistics & facts

The Japanese information and communications technology (ICT) industry, which encompasses segments such as telecommunications, software, and data processing and information services, is one of the most developed worldwide. In the 2019 fiscal year, the telecommunications industry generated approximately 14.9 trillion Japanese yen in sales revenue, with mobile communications accounting for almost half of the sales. The mobile communications environment in Japan is characterized by an advanced Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network, which enables high-speed data communications, and highly developed handsets, which have made mobile communications increasingly convenient. After several steps of deregulation in the telecommunications industry and a considerable number of venture companies entering the market, three major competitors emerged as key players: NTT Docomo, au by KDDI and Softbank Corp. NTT Docomo, which evolved from the mobile communications division of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), holds the largest share of customers in Japan.

A forerunner in introducing new technology

NTT Docomo was established in 1991 as a subsidiary of the Japanese communications company NTT to take over mobile cellular operations. NTT, once a state-owned monopolist, is one of the largest telecommunications companies in terms of revenue on a global scale. NTT Docomo, whose name translates into “everywhere” and implies mobility regardless of place, launched its first digital cellular phone service a year after its establishment. The company has since been a forerunner in introducing new telecommunications technologies to the market. This included launching one of the first widely adopted mobile internet services in 1999, being the first mobile carrier in Japan to operate a third generation (3G) network and introducing one of the world’s first LTE services. Next to telecommunications, the company’s segments encompass the smart life business, which includes areas such as lifestyle and finance services, as well as other businesses, which include technology-related enterprise solutions and support services for customers. In order to create further value-added services, Docomo has collaborated with a growing number of business partners (“+d partners”).

Competition in the market

NTT Docomo, which is headquartered in Tokyo’s prestigious Chiyoda ward, has built up a huge customer base, counting almost 83 million domestic mobile phone subscribers as of the fiscal year 2020. However, the emergence of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which show increasing subscription numbers, pose a challenge to the market position of Japan’s more established mobile network operators (MNOs). MVNOs operate by leasing network capacity of MNOs and are often able to target more specific customer groups. One such MVNO, Rakuten Mobile, became Japan’s fourth major mobile carrier in 2020. The mobile market in Japan, although in the past often said to be saturated, continues to expand due to the growing penetration of smartphones and the trend of single users owning multiple devices. In addition, the rollout of 5G networks by all four MNOs in 2020 is expected to improve user experiences and to open up new business opportunities for companies in various areas, such as entertainment, healthcare, and autonomous vehicles.

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NTT Docomo

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NTT Docomo, Inc. - statistics & facts

The Japanese information and communications technology (ICT) industry, which encompasses segments such as telecommunications, software, and data processing and information services, is one of the most developed worldwide. In the 2019 fiscal year, the telecommunications industry generated approximately 14.9 trillion Japanese yen in sales revenue, with mobile communications accounting for almost half of the sales. The mobile communications environment in Japan is characterized by an advanced Long-Term Evolution (LTE) network, which enables high-speed data communications, and highly developed handsets, which have made mobile communications increasingly convenient. After several steps of deregulation in the telecommunications industry and a considerable number of venture companies entering the market, three major competitors emerged as key players: NTT Docomo, au by KDDI and Softbank Corp. NTT Docomo, which evolved from the mobile communications division of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT), holds the largest share of customers in Japan.

A forerunner in introducing new technology

NTT Docomo was established in 1991 as a subsidiary of the Japanese communications company NTT to take over mobile cellular operations. NTT, once a state-owned monopolist, is one of the largest telecommunications companies in terms of revenue on a global scale. NTT Docomo, whose name translates into “everywhere” and implies mobility regardless of place, launched its first digital cellular phone service a year after its establishment. The company has since been a forerunner in introducing new telecommunications technologies to the market. This included launching one of the first widely adopted mobile internet services in 1999, being the first mobile carrier in Japan to operate a third generation (3G) network and introducing one of the world’s first LTE services. Next to telecommunications, the company’s segments encompass the smart life business, which includes areas such as lifestyle and finance services, as well as other businesses, which include technology-related enterprise solutions and support services for customers. In order to create further value-added services, Docomo has collaborated with a growing number of business partners (“+d partners”).

Competition in the market

NTT Docomo, which is headquartered in Tokyo’s prestigious Chiyoda ward, has built up a huge customer base, counting almost 83 million domestic mobile phone subscribers as of the fiscal year 2020. However, the emergence of mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs), which show increasing subscription numbers, pose a challenge to the market position of Japan’s more established mobile network operators (MNOs). MVNOs operate by leasing network capacity of MNOs and are often able to target more specific customer groups. One such MVNO, Rakuten Mobile, became Japan’s fourth major mobile carrier in 2020. The mobile market in Japan, although in the past often said to be saturated, continues to expand due to the growing penetration of smartphones and the trend of single users owning multiple devices. In addition, the rollout of 5G networks by all four MNOs in 2020 is expected to improve user experiences and to open up new business opportunities for companies in various areas, such as entertainment, healthcare, and autonomous vehicles.

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