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Walt Disney and Japan’s leading mobile carrier Docomo will launch a streaming service in March as the country prepares for 5G.
The price of the new service is yet to be announced, but content will include the latest releases from Walt Disney Studios, Marvel Studios, Pixar and Lucasfilm. News of the deal came out of the Mobile World Congress being held this week in Barcelona, Spain.
Docomo has around 45 percent market share in Japan with more than 70 million subscribers. The next largest carrier, KDDi’s au service, linked with Netflix last year, offering a special data plan with unlimited access to the streaming platform. Third-largest carrier SoftBank has offered Netflix subscriptions to its 40 million subscribers since the streamer launched in Japan in 2015.
The three main carriers have all applied for 5G bandwidth licenses, with services expected to come online as early as this year. Super-fast 5G connections will see even more content offered and consumed via mobile. Japan’s mobile carriers have been under pressure from the government to cut their high fees and are expected to push more 5G services to make up the revenue shortfall.
Japan is a huge market for Disney, with Tokyo Disneyland the most profitable of its theme parks worldwide, though it is run under license, while its films regularly score big at the box office, including a $250 million haul for Frozen and $110 million for Beauty and the Beast.
Docomo has offered Disney Mobile handsets with designs featuring popular characters from the studio for more than five years.
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