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The Public Management, Home Affairs, Posts and Telecommunications Ministry on Friday approved plans by two regional operators of the NTT group to launch cut-rate Internet Protocol telephony services.

The ministry said it has approved applications by NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp. to provide IP telephony services to corporate customers — on condition that they ensure fairness and transparency in selecting network providers.

NTT East and NTT West hope to launch the new services by the end of the month at the earliest after the companies’ prices for the services are approved, according to company officials.

KDDI Corp. and 15 other communications firms had called on the ministry to block the NTT regional carriers’ applications, stating that if NTT enters the IP telephony market it could claim an overwhelming share.

The ministry judged that fair competition would be maintained by setting conditions for the approval of the services.

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