Market Insight

RESEARCH NOTE - Japan’s Mobile Infrastructure Market in Transition, Falls Two Percent Year-over-Year in 2016

April 05, 2017

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Following is information and insight from IHS Markit about our H1 2017 Mobile Infrastructure Biannual Market Tracker: Japan, which contains data and analysis for the half-year ended December 31, 2016.  


  • The Japanese mobile infrastructure market totaled $3.3 billion for the full-year 2016, falling 2 percent year-over-year
  • Nokia maintained the lead for radio access network (RAN) equipment in Japan in 2016
  • IHS Markit forecasts Japan’s mobile infrastructure industry to decline at a -15.3 percent compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2016 to 2021  

Our Analysis

For the full-year 2016, Japanese mobile infrastructure—wideband code division multiple access (W-CDMA), CDMA2000 and Long Term Evolution (LTE) hardware only—dropped 2 percent year-over-year to $3.3 billion.

The decrease was a result of the long shift from network buildouts in 2010–2013 to LTE network enhancements such as 3.5GHz time division duplex (TDD) and frequency division duplex (FDD) carrier aggregation, which defines Japan’s current transitional mode before hitting initial 5G deployments after 2020.

This transition is characterized by:

  • 3.5GHz TDD-LTE enhancements are creating a shift from FDD to TDD LTE spending
  • 4x4 MIMO (multiple input, multiple output) and higher orders of modulation from 64QAM to 256QAM are paving the way to 5G
  • 5G preparations are pressing vendors to comply with NTT DOCOMO’s showcasing of the technology during the 2020 Olympics and 2023 nationwide commercial launch; these endeavors should kick off a new investment cycle in 2019 by injecting a few billion dollars into the mobile infrastructure market, pulling it back into positive territory

On the market share front, Nokia maintained the lead for RAN equipment in Japan in 2016.

Overall, 3G increased 34 percent and LTE decreased 5 percent year-over-year in 2016.

Looking ahead to 2021, we believe the Japanese mobile infrastructure market is poised to fall to $1.5 billion—a -15.3 percent CAGR from 2016 to 2021.

Japanese Mobile Report Synopsis

Based on the IHS Markit worldwide Mobile Infrastructure Quarterly Market Tracker, the Mobile Infrastructure and Subscribers Biannual Market Tracker: Japan focuses specifically on the 3G and LTE infrastructure markets and subscribers in Japan and also includes preliminary 5G analysis. It provides market size, vendor market share, forecasts through 2021, analysis and trends. The report also includes an LTE deployment tracker.

Research by Market
Mobile & Telecom
Mobile Networks
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