The government of Japan has announced new measures to fuel competition in the domestic mobile market by making it easier for users to switch to another carrier while keeping their current number. Under the plan, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC) is aiming to cut the current charge to switch at shops from JPY3,000 (USD28) to JPY1,000, while removing the fee altogether if the application is made online. At a meeting yesterday (27 August), a panel of experts broadly agreed on the plan, with the MIC now hopeful it can introduce changes to improve the country’s mobile number portability (MNP) regime by the end of the year. The government is mindful that as things stand, the big three cellcos – NTT DOCOMO, KDDI (au) and Softbank Corp – are dominant and newcomers are struggling to offer lower fees to compete effectively. Although the MNP regime went live back in October 2006, the number of people using the system has stalled in recent years. In fiscal 2018, it stood at around 5.06 million, but it fell to 4.33 million in fiscal 2019, or just 2.7% of the total wireless subscriber base, according to government data.