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Japanese government chastises cellphone company over service failures

JIJI

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry has instructed KDDI Corp. to take steps to prevent large-scale mobile service failures like those experienced over the past few months.

The ministry gave the administrative instruction to KDDI on Tuesday after KDDI’s au communications service for mobile phones was disrupted across wide areas on six occasions between December and May.

KDDI has significantly damaged trust in the nation’s communications services, the ministry said, adding that the company failed to prevent the large-scale failures even though it received an administrative instruction in February 2012 over a similar problem.

The company is to work out preventive measures and submit a report to the ministry by Aug. 16.

KDDI President Takashi Tanaka will return 20 percent of his pay for three months, while six other senior officials will take a three-month pay cut of 10 percent, the company said.

The string of failures was linked to Apple Inc.’s iPhone handsets that KDDI began selling in October 2011 and the Long-Term Evolution (LTE) high-speed communications service released last September, the ministry said.

KDDI failed to do enough to address the rapid increase in communications traffic as its networks became increasingly complex, the ministry said.

The ministry noted capacity shortages with key equipment and miscalculations related to restoration work for disrupted services.

The LTE data communications service was disrupted in December, January, April and May on a total of five occasions. In a separate case in April, KDDI’s iPhone users found themselves unable to send or receive email.