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NTT may be allowed to discount combined services

Kyodo

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry will consider a proposal to let the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group offer discount services for bundling mobile and fiber-optic or fixed-line services, government sources said Monday.

While rival carriers KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Mobile Corp. are allowed to provide such discounts, the government has banned NTT Docomo Inc., a mobile service unit of the former state-owned telephone monopoly, from doing so because of concerns it could lead to a monopoly.

The move, however, could prompt customers to come back to NTT Docomo, which has been losing market share.

Later this month, an expert panel is expected to start discussing the matter along with other communications deregulation measures in a bid to compile a plan in November and submit an amendment to the Telecommunications Business Law to the Diet in 2015.

KDDI, which provides services under the brand name au, has drawn customers away from NTT Docomo with its “smart value” discount service, which combines mobile and fiber-optic Internet services.

Docomo’s market share has dropped from 52.0 percent at the end of fiscal 2008 to 44.3 percent as of the end of last September since falling behind rivals in sales of Apple Inc.’s popular iPhone.

NTT Docomo has been asking the government to lift the ban, but KDDI and SoftBank have opposed the move.