Japan Govt Begins Talks to Cut Mobile Phone Penalty Charges

Politics

Tokyo, May 21 (Jiji Press)--An expert panel of Japan's communications ministry Tuesday started discussions to address mobile phone service providers' practice of preventing users from switching to other companies with fixed-term contracts.

The expected main topic will be how to lower penalty charges imposed for early contract termination. The panel will work out details around summer to revise a ministerial ordinance based on the telecommunications business law.

Under typical contracts, subscribers have to pay some 10,000 yen in penalties if they terminate two-year contracts before a designated three-month renewal period preceding the contract expiration date.

Some panel members were critical of the system. "The current level of the penalty fees is too high," a member said.

At the meeting, the ministry explained that if subscribers choose a fee plan different from two-year contracts, they have to pay basic monthly voice call rates more than 1,500 yen higher. The high rates effectively block subscribers from adopting such a plan.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press