Softbank to Halve Handset Prices Even without Communications Contracts

Economy

Tokyo, Sept. 9 (Jiji Press)--Softbank Corp. <9434> said Monday it will start on Friday a service to cut the prices of smartphone and other mobile phone handsets bought in four-year installments by up to 50 pct even if the customers subscribe to rival carriers' communications services.

The move comes ahead of the entry into force on Oct. 1 of the revised telecommunications business law, which requires mobile phone operators to charge communications fees and handset prices separately.

Under the new service, if customers purchase handsets in 48 monthly installments, and replace them with new ones designated by Softbank in the 25th month or later, they will be exempted from paying the rest of the original handset purchase costs.

Users of the service will need to separately pay a monthly fee of 390 yen for two years.

The revised legislation, which is aimed at spurring competition among carriers for communications fee reductions, also obliges the firms to set the upper limit for handset discounts at 20,000 yen, after they were criticized for covering handset discounts with revenue from high communications fees collected from subscribers.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press