Japan’s Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) is reportedly considering moves to bar mobile network operators (MNOs) from charging customers for moving to another service provider via the country’s mobile number portability (MNP) regime. The Japan Times learned yesterday (20 July) that the ministry will review its MNP guidelines with a view to making it easier for consumers to switch carrier and hopefully trigger a fall in mobile phone charges. Currently, Japan’s established MNOs NTT DOCOMO, KDDI (au) and SoftBank Corp, as well as budget carriers/MVNOs levy a fee of JPY3,000 (USD28) on requests to switch service provider, but the MIC believes there is no justification for the fee which acts as a bar to stop users from porting their number. It plans to draw up its recommendations to amend the MNP regime – first introduced in October 2006 – with the tentative aim of removing the fee as early as autumn 2020. With the move likely to face opposition from the incumbent MNOs, it is noted that MNP requests currently languish at less than five million per annum – or just 2.7% of the total wireless subscriber base.