Softbank to remove call charges between mobile, IP users

15 Jan 2008

With competition in the saturated Japanese mobile market showing no sign of abating, local telecoms group Softbank Corp is considering moves to stop charging for calls made between its cellular mobile and IP telephony service BB Phone, the Nikkei reports without citing sources. The operator reportedly plans to launch a new service, dubbed White Phone, sometime around April which would make Softbank the first Japanese operator to stop charging for calls between its cellular and ‘fixed line’ phone users. According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database, Softbank Corp had signed up 17.4 million mobile customers by the end of 2007; it also has around five million people subscribing to its web-based phone service, which it offers as part of its high speed internet service. With its broadband unit coming under increasing pressure from rivals such as NTT, Softbank says it is looking to expand its internet-based phone service and to counteract the expected drop in revenues by offering free calls, by signing up more users and increasing revenues overall.