ArrowArtboardCreated with Sketch.Title ChevronTitle ChevronEye IconIcon FacebookIcon LinkedinIcon Mail ContactPath LayerIcon MailMenu BurgerPositive ArrowIcon PrintIcon SearchSite TitleTitle ChevronIcon Twitter
Media & Entertainment

Docomo offers free Amazon Prime as Japan's 5G race heats up

Top wireless carrier dangles streaming content to lure new users

Docomo users stream 4K video during a trial run on a Tobu Railway train in Tokyo. (Photo by Rie Ishii)

TOKYO -- Top Japanese mobile carrier NTT Docomo will offer customers a free year of Amazon Prime as telecom and tech companies form alliances ahead of next spring's rollout of ultrafast 5G wireless service.

Starting Dec. 1, Docomo will cover the roughly $45 annual cost of Amazon Prime membership for subscribers to new rate plans launched in June, giving them access to the service's catalog of thousands of movies and dramas. The tie-up was announced Tuesday.

"We anticipate an inflow [of customers] from other companies," Docomo President Kazuhiro Yoshizawa told a news conference here.

The vastly increased data speeds and capacity of 5G networks compared with 4G are expected to make entertainment a bigger battleground for wireless carriers.

Docomo already gives subscribers access to Disney streaming videos, as well as sports content from DAZN, a U.K.-based service. Rival KDDI launched in September a new unlimited-data plan that includes a subscription to Netflix.

SoftBank Corp., Japan's third-largest carrier by subscribers, has a partnership with U.S. chip designer Nvidia and South Korea's LG group in 5G cloud gaming.

Japan's video-streaming market is expected to grow roughly 30% between 2018 and 2023 to 295 billion yen ($2.7 billion), according to the Digital Content Association of Japan.

Docomo's Amazon Prime deal will be available to nearly 10 million users. If just 10% take the offer, the carrier will need to pay roughly 5 billion yen. But "as a price for retaining and bringing in subscribers, it's cheap," a Docomo executive said.

Sponsored Content

About Sponsored Content This content was commissioned by Nikkei's Global Business Bureau.

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this monthThis is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia;
the most dynamic market in the world.

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia

Get trusted insights from experts within Asia itself.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Get Unlimited access

You have {{numberArticlesLeft}} free article{{numberArticlesLeft-plural}} left this month

This is your last free article this month

Stay ahead with our exclusives on Asia; the most
dynamic market in the world
.

Get trusted insights from experts
within Asia itself.

Try 3 months for $9

Offer ends October 31st

Your trial period has expired

You need a subscription to...

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers and subscribe

Your full access to the Nikkei Asian Review has expired

You need a subscription to:

  • Read all stories with unlimited access
  • Use our mobile and tablet apps
See all offers
NAR on print phone, device, and tablet media