SoftBank to cut smartphone charges in Japan

TOKYO Sat Jun 7, 2014 7:43pm IST

Pedestrians walk in front of a SoftBank Corp logo outside its branch in Tokyo February 25, 2014. REUTERS/Yuya Shino/Files

Pedestrians walk in front of a SoftBank Corp logo outside its branch in Tokyo February 25, 2014.

Credit: Reuters/Yuya Shino/Files

Related Topics

Stocks

   

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Corp, Japan's No.3 mobile carrier, will cut its smartphone charges in Japan with a flat rate for unlimited voice calling and cheaper data plans, in a sign that price competition may be starting to pick up in Japan's mobile market.

The lower rates, to take effect next month, are similar to reductions this month by rival NTT DoCoMo Inc, Japan's largest wireless provider. Regulators have grown increasingly critical of the three dominant carriers, blaming them for high smartphone fees and oligopolistic practices.

The authorities' complaints came at an awkward time for SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son, as he tries to convince U.S. regulators that a proposed acquisition by his Sprint Corp, the No.3 U.S. mobile carrier, of No.4 T-Mobile US Inc would boost competition in the U.S. market, by giving the top two carriers more of a run for their money.

In addition to flat-fee unlimited voice calling, SoftBank will offer options allowing users to roll over unused data communications to the next month or to share them with family members.

It also will launch special offers or discounts for family plans, long-term users and subscribers aged 25 and under.

A voice-only smartphone service will be priced at 2,700 yen ($26.33) per month, while data plans will run from 3,500 yen per month for 2 gigabytes up to 22,500 yen for 30 GB.

Japan's wireless carriers had typically offered only high-end smartphone plans with minimum charges of 5,700 yen per month for 7 GB of data communications. The communications ministry has charged that the uniformly high fees showed there was insufficient competition in the industry.KDDI Corp, the second-largest carrier, is also considering offering flat-rate, unlimited calling, sources familiar with the matter have said.

($1 = 102.5600 Japanese Yen)

(Reporting by Yoshiyasu Shida and Teppei Kasai; Writing by Edmund Klamann; Editing by David Holmes)

FILED UNDER:
Comments (0)
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.

  • Most Popular
  • Most Shared

Wipro Results

People walk in the Wipro campus in Bangalore June 23, 2009. REUTERS/Punit Paranjpe/Files

Wipro sees rosier end to year as U.S. clients spend

India's third-biggest software services firm Wipro Ltd , under pressure to improve lacklustre sales growth, said it saw a rosier end to the year as more confident U.S. clients increase spending.  Full Article 

Reuters Showcase

New Email Service

New Email Service

Google launches new email service dubbed "Inbox".  Full Article 

Apple-1 Auction

Apple-1 Auction

Early Apple computer sells for $905,000 at auction.  Full Article 

No More Nokia

No More Nokia

Microsoft looks set to drop Nokia name from smartphones.  Full Article 

User Data Security

User Data Security

Apple CEO discusses security with top Chinese official amid hacking claims - Xinhua.  Full Article 

Patent Wars

Patent Wars

Big Tech winning battle with 'patent trolls'.  Full Article 

Record Season

Record Season

FedEx expects record peak volume of 22.6 million packages on Dec. 15.  Full Article 

Yahoo Earnings

Yahoo Earnings

Yahoo ekes out Q3 revenue gain despite display ad weakness.  Full Article 

Reuters India Mobile

Reuters India Mobile

Get the latest news on the go. Visit Reuters India on your mobile device.  Full Coverage