New MVNO petitions MIC for access to DoCoMo’s networks

10 Jul 2007

Japan’s first mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) Japan Communications has submitted an official request to the regulator, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC), asking it to order market leader NTT DoCoMo to lease its mobile networks under the remit of the Telecommunications Business Law.

If the MIC approves the request, it could lead to a reduction in mobile phone charges, which are currently higher than those in many other developed countries. The Asahi Shimbun reports that the ministry is supportive of Japan Communications’ request, as it looks to boost competition in the domestic mobile market. The newcomer currently leases capacity on Willcom’s personal handy-phone system (PHS) network, but in a bid to expand into the faster 3G segment, last November it made an official request to DoCoMo for access to its FOMA mobile network. However, talks between the two companies have stalled and Japan Communications is requesting the MIC to now arbitrate in the matter. One sticking point centres on DoCoMo’s unwillingness to disclose contract terms – something it is required to do by law.