• Kyodo News

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The government is seeking to cut special fees charged by telecommunications carriers to maintain land-line phone services to 3 yen to 4 yen per phone number in January, down from the current 7 yen, officials said Saturday.

The Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry introduced the special fee system in January to help Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. units cover losses on services in rural areas.

NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp., the two land-line units of NTT, are legally required to maintain equal services throughout Japan even if they are not profitable in some areas.

Other telecom carriers, including mobile phone firms, also levy the special fees on customers so the industry as a whole shoulders the cost of maintaining nationwide land-line services.

The fee cut is apparently aimed at easing customer complaints against the new system.

The ministry will ask the NTT units to further promote rationalization efforts.

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