Softbank Mobile Corp. President Masayoshi Son apologized Monday for the system crash this weekend that forced the company to stop taking subscription and cancellation applications for its phone services.

“I apologize for causing troubles not only to our customers but also for bringing about transaction disorder with DoCoMo and au,” Son told a hastily arranged news conference at a Tokyo hotel.

Son also said the company will cut its current cell phone service fees when its customers make calls to users of other carriers, starting Nov. 10.

The calling fees, under its Gold Plan, will be reduced to a uniform 20 yen per 30 seconds, excluding tax, when Softbank Mobile customers make calls to users of NTT DoCoMo Inc. or KDDI Corp. regardless of time of day, making its fees about the same as its two bigger rivals, Son said.

When Softbank Mobile unveiled the new Gold Plan on Oct. 23, the day before the launch of the number portability system, it said it would charge from 15 yen to 29 yen per 30 seconds, excluding tax, depending on time of day.

Softbank’s computer system was snowed under Saturday and Sunday by massive applications following the introduction of the mobile number portability system, which allows people to switch cell phone carriers without changing their numbers. The system was resumed Monday.

The computer system was paralyzed when swamped by a huge number of applications that Son described as “beyond our expectations.”

Softbank acknowledged the computer system did not have enough capacity.

To prepare for this weekend, which is likely to draw another massive number of applications because Friday is a national holiday, Softbank will accept only new subscriptions, cancellations and repairs between Wednesday and Sunday.

Other requests, including just changing handsets, will have to wait until Monday.

Son said he believes new subscriptions outnumbered cancellations over the weekend, but this could not be confirmed because the firm did not disclose any figures. Son said Softbank will announce the totals when it finishes compiling the data.

Reporters pelted Son with questions about whether the firm might have focused too much on promoting its new aggressive phone charges, rather than increasing the capacity of its system.

Son said the firm was trying to make subscribers happy by lowering the charges and in turn triggering competition in the industry.

Information from Kyodo added

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