Japan’s leading mobile network operator (MNO) by subscribers NTT DOCOMO yesterday (15 April) announced plans to cut some of its current mobile communications fees by up to 40%. The cellco says it will introduce the new plans in June which will separate out the cost of the handset from the communications fees. In March this year the Japanese government approved an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Law to lower fees for mobile services in the country following sustained criticism of MNOs charging higher rates than many other countries by using bundling to retain high data use charges in return for subsidised phones – a system that some suggest is overly complicated and allows them to keep fees artificially high. DOCOMO’s two new plans will allow users to download up to 30GB of data for a fixed monthly fee of JPY5,980 (USD53.4), plus a charge of between JPY1,980 and JPY4,980 per month depending on the volume of data traffic used. The former plan represents a 40% cut on the MNO’s current pricing structure for a similar service if the user signs up for data communications of up to 1GB for three or more lines. Typically, some 70% of all mobile contracts on the DOCOMO network are those for family discount plans which comprise three or more connections.
NTT DOCOMO President and Chief Executive Officer Kazuhiro Yoshizawa confirmed the carrier’s effective compliance with the government directive, saying: ‘We have made our service fees simpler after receiving comments that they have been complicated and difficult to understand, preventing customers from feeling the benefits of cost savings.’