Government promises help for would-be mobile entrants

14 Jul 2006

Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) says it is formulating a new set of rules to allow companies that do not own their own wireless networks to enter the country’s wireless market as mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs). Details of the new measures will be made available in the autumn, and are thought to include proposals to help would-be new entrants gain access to the infrastructure of the three incumbents NTT DoCoMo, KDDI Corp, and Vodafone KK (soon to be renamed Softbank Mobile). Virtual mobile operators will be helped through a series of measures such as better leasing arrangements that will enable MVNOs to sell own-brand mobile services. Although the existing mobile network operators are required under law to allow rivals to access their networks, to date they have dragged their heels often arguing that matters such as determining liability in the event of a problem have prevented them from signing wholesale deals. However, the Ministry says that under the new regime they will no longer be able to deny requests, except where otherwise stipulated within the rules. Jupiter Telecommunications (J:COM), the country’s largest CATV provider, has said it plans to enter the mobile market.

Japan, KDDI (au), NTT DOCOMO, SoftBank Corp