Softbank Corp. said Monday it has lodged a complaint with the telecommunications ministry over its plan to allot a new radio bandwidth exclusively to mobile phone giants NTT DoCoMo Inc. and KDDI Corp.
Softbank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told a news conference in Tokyo the bandwidth should also be given to his Internet-business investing firm, which is ready to enter the wireless communications market as soon as regulators give the green light.
A week ago, the firm said it will launch a discount land-line phone service in December.
With its planned foray into the mobile phone market, the company would be challenging the NTT group, the industry giant, for most major telecommunications services, including those for high-speed Internet connections.
Son said the Public Management, Home Affairs and Posts and Telecommunications Ministry’s decision unfairly favors the existing operators. The ministry up through Monday had solicited public comment on its plan to allot the key 800 megahertz band, newly freed through consolidation, only to NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, operator of the au mobile phone service.
He said the bandwidth “is a public asset that should be decided based on debate, and the public should be widely informed of” its allotment.
The ministry’s decision invites suspicion that the two firms get favorable treatment because they accept former ministry officials for top posts, Son told reporters.
Softbank’s views were echoed by Vodafone K.K., the third largest mobile phone operator, which also filed a letter of opinion with the ministry Monday calling for equal access to the key frequency band for all companies wishing for space there.
Mobile phone services can be provided on the 1.5 and 2 gigahertz bands as well, but Softbank is seeking to use the 800 MHz frequency, which would allow the company to provide mobile phone services inexpensively.
Shingo Tanabe, an official at the telecommunications ministry, said the reallocation of the 800 MHz band to the two existing cell phone service operators is necessary to enable a smooth transfer for users of second-generation services to third-generation services.
“The allocation of the 800 MHz band to newcomers must wait until 2012,” Tanabe said.
Son said his company has been applying for bandwidth to start its own wireless service.
“I think we could start the service between 1 1/2 and 2 1/2 years of receiving a license for mobile phone operations,” he said.
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