The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry plans to draw up a new set of rules this fall to allow companies that do not own their own wireless infrastructure to more easily enter the mobile communications business, ministry officials said Thursday.
The new rules are aimed at helping companies that lack their own networks to become “virtual mobile network operators” by using the networks of established mobile phone operators, including NTT DoCoMo Inc., KDDI Corp. and Vodafone K.K., the officials said.
Through leasing arrangements with the mobile operators, virtual mobile companies from different industries will be able to provide unique mobile phone services under their own brand names, the officials said.
The rules will foster the growth of mobile phones with built-in game players, for example, and mobile services that specialize in providing sports and restaurant information, they said.
Mobile phone network operators are, in principle, required to allow access to rivals. But the dominant mobile communications companies often refuse to provide such access to other firms, arguing, for example, that liability in the event of problems is unclear, the ministry said.
Under the new rules, mobile phone operators will not be allowed to refuse requests for access except as stipulated in the rules, the ministry said.
About 30 U.S. and European companies, including the Virgin Group of Britain and Walt Disney Co. of the United States, have become virtual mobile network operators, providing their own mobile phone services.
Domestically, Jupiter Telecommunications Co., Japan’s largest cable television company, known as J:Com, has said it plans to enter the mobile communications market.
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