NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp. are likely to apply around October for government approval to launch long-distance phone services, industry sources said Tuesday.

Under a revision made to the NTT law in November, the regional telephone units of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. are already permitted to engage in long-distance services, but applications are expected to be delayed until October as the two companies must continue negotiations with the Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry, the sources said.

The two companies are shooting for spring as a launch target for nationwide Internet protocol-based phone services and data communications services.

NTT Communications Corp. already offers long-distance phone services, but the NTT group considers it unlikely that the regional phone units’ planned entry will have any serious effect on the company as the long-distance telecom market is expected to grow rapidly, the sources said.

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