Rakuten Launches Full-Scale Mobile Phone Service

Economy

Tokyo, April 8 (Jiji Press)--Japanese cybermall operator Rakuten Inc. <4755> launched a full-scale mobile phone service on Wednesday, aiming to catch up with the country's three major carriers.

It offers only one fee plan, 2,980 yen per month excluding tax, less than half of the fee levels at the three rivals--NTT Docomo Inc. <9437>, KDDI Corp. <9433> and Softbank Corp. <9434>--to demonstrate its service as being more affordable than those of the competitors.

In locations covered by its own communications network in the three metropolitan areas of Tokyo, Nagoya and Osaka, Rakuten will allow data transmissions without limits as it tries to break the oligopoly of the three rivals.

Attention is expected to be paid to whether the approach by Rakuten will help spur price competition and lead to a cut in mobile phone rates in Japan, industry watchers said.

Rakuten also launched a campaign to charge no communication fees to the first three million subscribers for the first year, in an attempt to prompt customers of the three rivals to switch to its service.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press