NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp. said Friday that they will slash their intracity call rate to 8.5 yen per three minutes from the previously planned rate of 8.8 yen.

The new rate will take effect May 1.

The nation’s telecom firms are engaged in a vicious price war ahead of the start of the Myline service in May. Myline is a new subscriber system under which customers will be able to select the company that handles their calls.

This latest rate cut is expected to hit annual earnings at NTT East and NTT West by a combined 25 billion yen, officials of the two firms said.

Tokyo Telecommunication Network Co., or TTNet, announced the same day that it has decided to operate the industry’s joint-lowest rate — 8.4 yen per three minutes — in the Kanto region.

Kyushu Telecommunication Network Co., known as QTNet, will apply the same rate in Kyushu. NTT East and NTT West will also apply their new rate to their discount service, under which customers can make a five-minute call for 8.8 yen by paying a monthly fee of 200 yen.

In March, Japan Telecom decided to cut its local call rates to 8.5 yen from its previously planned rate of 8.8 yen in an effort to lure more subscribers ahead of the launch of the Myline service.

KDDI and NTT Communications Corp., another NTT group firm, immediately followed suit.

Fusion woes continue

Fusion Communications Corp. said Friday that troubles in its Internet-based domestic long-distance telephone service will likely be fixed by Sunday at the earliest, three days longer than earlier announced.

The new carrier kicked off the groundbreaking telephone service April 1, but customers began reporting glitches such as inaudibility and noises during calls soon afterward.

Fusion said it had repaired its sound-processing system by Thursday morning but that further repairs must be made to its noise-reduction functions.

Fusion, a new common carrier established in Tokyo in March 2000, is owned in part by Furukawa Electric Co. and trading company Nissho Iwai Corp. It is the first phone operator in Japan to offer a uniform long-distance rate regardless of distance, time or day of a call.

By using Internet technology, which transmits a caller’s voice by converting it into data, the company charges a uniform rate of 20 yen per three minutes.

Troubles have occurred in more than 50,000 calls since Fusion went online, and the company has so far received nearly 400 inquiries from its subscribers.

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