• Kyodo

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Giant retailer Aeon Co. on Friday will start a low-cost smartphone service using a leased wireless communications network, charging less than half the fees imposed by the major mobile phone carriers.

Aeon plans to sell 8,000 Nexus 4 handsets, developed by LG Electronics Inc. of South Korea and Google Inc., at around 170 of its stores, company officials said. Depending on demand, Aeon will consider selling more handsets, they added.

The fixed monthly charge, including installment payments for the handset, will be ¥2,980, significantly cheaper than the ¥7,000 or so that major carriers such as NTT Docomo Inc. charge for their popular fixed-rate smartphone packages.

Aeon is gaining access to the wireless network via Japan Communications Inc., a mobile virtual network operator that leases and resells network capacity from a major carrier.

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