2 major mobile carriers to introduce cheaper plans after gov’t pressure

2 major mobile carriers to introduce cheaper plans after gov't pressure

TOKYO – Two of Japan’s three major mobile phone carriers said Wednesday they will roll out cheaper plans under their low-cost service brands in response to government pressure to slash rates.

KDDI Corp will start offering a 20-gigabyte plan for 3,980 yen per month in February or later under its UQ Mobile brand, while Softbank Corp will introduce a 20-gigabyte plan with up to 10 minutes of free voice calls for 4,480 yen a month under its Y!Mobile brand from late December.

The cheapest voice call option for KDDI’s new plan will cost 500 yen for up to 60 minutes of calls a month, putting the new service on a par with SoftBank’s.

The Japanese government released an action plan Tuesday to spur competition among telecommunication carriers in line with Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s push to lower domestic mobile phone fees.

In a related development, the Japan Fair Trade Commission said Wednesday it has launched a survey on mobile phone services such as access rates paid by mobile virtual network operators which do not own network infrastructure.

NTT Docomo Inc, the country’s largest mobile communication firm, is expected to follow suit.

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