The Yomiuri Shimbun reports that SoftBank Mobile and eMobile have entered the final stages of negotiations over a tie-up in wireless data communications services in Japan. According to people familiar with the situation, if the deal goes ahead, Softbank Mobile, the country’s third largest mobile operator by subscribers, plans to introduce a flat-rate system for the services, using eMobile’s network. Softbank is looking to launch the new offer in spring 2009 – marking the first mobile virtual network operator deal between telecoms companies in Japan. The tie-up will allow both companies to take on bigger rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI in the hotly contested domestic market. In addition, Softbank Mobile plans to boost data-transmission speeds and set the rate for the service close to JPY4,980 (USD55.58) – similar to a two-year deal being proposed by eMobile and the lowest in the Japanese mobile sector.