Softbank gets tough over 3G frequency allocation plan

14 Oct 2004

Japan’s Softbank Corp has filed a lawsuit against the country’s telecoms regulator, seeking an injunction to stop the government’s plans to reallocate spectrum in the 800MHz band to two of the country’s leading cellcos – NTT DoCoMo and KDDI. Softbank, which already provides Yahoo BB broadband internet access and offers fixed line services through its recently acquired Japan Telecom unit, is keen to enter the mobile market and is looking to obtain a licence to use CDMA 1x technology. However, it is aggrieved that the Ministry of Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications (since renamed the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, MIC) plans to award licences for that band primarily to DoCoMo and KDDI, under the premise of improving the efficiency of its frequency allocation. While the MIC says it is sorting out the frequencies currently being used and plans to allocate other spectrum, such as those in the 1.7GHz and 2GHz band, to other operators including new carriers, Softbank says the treatment it is receiving is unfair and runs contrary to the spirit of the Radio Law.