back to article Smartphones finally outsell featurephones ... in Japan

Forget China – Japan proved that its domestic mobile market is one of the most mature on the planet with new stats showing smartphone sales passed feature phone sales for the first time ever in February. Market-watcher comScore surveyed over 4,000 Japanese mobile subscribers to compile its latest MobiLens report for the three …


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  1. Andrew James

    Japanese phones outside japan

    I think fujitsu et al will probably struggle to shift large volumes outside Japan until such time as there is another major shift in trend for what gets put into a phone. These days we've got everything we want coming from brands that we are all familiar with for our mobile devices.

    For the majority of people picking a new smartphone tends (it seems to me) to be a choice between the offerings of Apple, HTC and Samsung, with an occasional glance at Sony / Nokia & others on the fringe like LG. Unless Fujitsu / Panasonic were to produce something truly spectacular or very well priced for its features, they're just not going to win over the hearts and minds.

  2. ukgnome
    Thumb Up


    Average 4g connection speed in japan is a mere 87mbps

    1. Anonymous Coward 101

      Re: 4G

      I get 30kbps here in Perth (Scotland) on Voda, out by a factor of almost 3000.

  3. Andrew James

    What are their 4G tarrif charges like?

    1. henchan

      I pay 3,500 yen / month for "unlimited" service from a Wimax-only (no 3G) router for a 24 month contract. My actual download speed tends to be around 25Mbps.

      A bundled smart-phone and 4G service is typically in the 6,000 / month range (24 months).

      Whether Wimax or LTE, people are mostly paying about $40/month for service - after accounting for device instalments. That service would also include 3G, which has 100% coverage, whereas 4G is not yet ubiquitous across all Japan. There is precious little incentive not to take the 4G on a new phone contract so most people take 4G now. Of course this fact helps promote smart-phone sales.

      1. Andrew James

        Rates are fairly reasonable then, with 6,000 yen currently being roughly £45. Hopefully the UK networks will see sense and not start pitching LTE only at £50+

  4. Dinky Carter

    Japan is clearly still streets ahead....

    Except that SMS still doesn't work well between carriers, tariffs are ridiculously hight, and Japanese 'featurephones' don't even have a + button, making international calls rather difficult.

    1. dave 76

      Re: Japan is clearly still streets ahead....

      Japan featurephones have had email addresses for years, which is a bit more useful than SMS, though I agree, SMS still doesn't work well.

      Every Japanese featurephone I have had and seen has had a + button and I've had no issue dialling international so not sure where you got that from.

    2. Andrew James

      Re: Japan is clearly still streets ahead....

      The + symbol only replaces the standard 00 though, doesn't it? So you could dial the UK from japan by using 0044[ditch the zero]7837 blahblahblahyadayadayada.

  5. David Black

    Technicallity really

    I suspect that a lot of this is just down to the definition of featurephone and smartphone. The crucial difference is in the ability to load your own apps which the operators largely prohibited until recently. Almost of of their "featurephones" are based on smartphone OSes (Symbian, Linux/Andriod etc.) with the app loading turned off. These featurephones are outstanding, particularly for data connectivity and I'd suspect that if there was a similar offering available in the rest of the world over the past 5 years, our "smartphone" market would be tiny.

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