• Kyodo

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Tokyo Electric Power Co. is currently in talks with three major Japanese mobile carriers to find a partner for joint marketing, as the planned liberalization of the retail electricity market next year is expected to boost competition, informed sources said Friday.

The utility will choose its partner from among NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. and will reach a basic agreement by the end of April, the sources said.

Tepco, whose regional monopoly in Tokyo and surrounding areas will end with the April 2016 deregulation, aims to use the tie-up to keep subscribers by offering a package deal for electricity supply and mobile phone services at reduced rates, they said.

The move would also provide the utility with a nationwide sales network.

To help increase business, Tepco is also considering tie-ups with companies in other industries including a home builder and an insurance company, the sources said.

Tepco is expected to face intense competition from other utilities and new entrants seeking to supply electricity in its lucrative service area, which encompasses nine prefectures in eastern Japan.

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