Country Report Japan

A look at WIFI and cellular in Japan – an hourly study

Netradar performed an analysis of some European countries a few weeks ago and now turn towards Asia. Japan has always been a leading country in mobile and cellular services and use of mobile technology is high. Yet, what does the daily life of Japanese consumers look like, when we compare WIFI and cellular networks? The following graphs look at the network usage per hour of the day, from midnight to midnight.

The story is both similar and different to Europeans. In terms of network usage, Japanese consumers clearly prefer WIFI over cellular.

Japanese prefers Wi-Fi

Consumers in Japan use much heavier apps (mostly videos) over WIFI and tend to be much more conservative with using cellular data. This can be seen from the graphs showing the typical daily speeds needed by mobile apps, around 5 Mbps in cellular networks but around double that, 10 Mbps, over WIFI.

Lunch time – busy time

In terms of network usage, Japanese consumers seem to use cellular network most heavily around lunch time at 1 PM. That is when both the number of usage sessions and amount of data is the highest. For WIFI, the peaks are quite naturally in the evenings, around 11 PM, same as for Europeans.

Service quality matches Japanese expectations

The expected service quality shows interesting trends. On one hand the network top speeds are much higher on WIFI at around 22 Mbps while in cellular networks the average is closer to 16 Mbps. Yet, as people tend to use heavier apps over WIFI, the Service Level Score, i.e. the probability to get all the bit rate you need, for WIFI is lower than for cellular service. Thus, this shows that the consumers in Japan do get quite well the service they need, on a country-wide average, when they choose to use cellular networks – the Service Level Score is even higher than most European countries.

The new metric: fraction of cellular use

As a new metric, we also looked at the fraction of cellular use vs WIFI. Japanese consumers use about 17% of their daily data on cellular networks and 83% of WIFI. For usage sessions, the fraction is 25% vs 75%, so Japanese use WIFI three times as much as cellular.


In Japan consumers clearly favor Wi-Fi over cellular, both in terms of usage and in daily and top speeds. Lunch time seems to be the favorite moment to use cellular.