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Japanese Telecom Ministry to urge mobile carriers to disclose leasing fees

On Monday Japan’s telecommunications ministry announced it will urge mobile carriers to clarify leasing fees for mobile virtual network operators with an aim to up the number of new entrants and boost competition within the market. Many would-be entrants have been deterred from Japan’s mobile market by the large initial costs of constructing base stations.

By asking mobile carriers such as NTT DoCoMo Inc, KDDI Corp, Softbank Corp, Willcom Inc, eMobile, UQ Communications Inc and others to reveal their pricing and other details of their leasing agreements, Japan’s telecommunications ministry hopes it will become easier to negotiate leasing terms, and encourage anyone who wishes to join the market as virtual operators as virtual operators don’t own networks or spectrums but rather rent access via other operators, for example Walt Disney Co has launched their service in Japan via the Softbank network.

Deputy Director with the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, Shogo Matsuda said: “Mobile users would be able to see more services offered, and operators would be able to diversify their businesses. We hope this will boost competition and re-energise the market.”

While Hiroshi Yamashina, an analyst for Nikko Citigroup commented, “The market for mobile phones is saturated, but we can say that the mobile data market has been unexploited.”

Yamashina also said it should spur foreign operators to enter Japan where approximately 85 percent of the country’s population are subscribers, that’s roughly 107 million, and added becoming a virtual operator is more desirable in regions like Europe whereby users often transmit data internationally.

Shares in mobile carriers are on the slide with NTT DoCoMo falling 1.9 percent, Softbank down 0.5 percent, KDDI down 1.6 percent, while relative newcomer eAccess dropped 2.6 percent.

Source — Reuters