An advisory panel charged with studying ways to promote information technology-related competition on Tuesday proposed drastically deregulating the nation’s telecommunications sector.

The panel’s final draft, for example, recommends that carriers other than the giant Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group be allowed to freely change their fees and services.

Other carriers, including KDDI Corp. and Japan Telecom Co., are currently required to notify the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry before making any such changes.

The panel, under the Information and Communications Council, urged the government to remove or ease regulations on telecom carriers to allow them to better respond to technological advances such as those that led to the recent success of cheap Internet-protocol phone services.

The panel also urged the ministry to encourage new entries into the market by allowing companies to start telephone services after giving prior notice to the ministry.

At present, certain types of companies are required to obtain approval of their business plans from the ministry before starting operations.

The government should also ease business restrictions on telephone companies under NTT, the panel said.

NTT group firms must obtain ministry approval before making any changes to their services, but they should be allowed to carry out changes to some of their services if they give prior notice, it said.

The panel said, however, that the government should continue treating NTT group firms and other carriers differently because of the group’s dominance in the market.

The panel’s recommendations will be formally presented to telecom minister Toranosuke Katayama in August, ministry officials said.

The ministry hopes to revise the Telecommunications Business Law based on the recommendations and submit a bill to the next regular Diet session due to start in January to carry out the revisions, the officials said.

It would be the first major amendment of the law since NTT was privatized in 1985, they added.

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.