Ministry panel starts talks on cuts to mobile phone tariffs

JIJI

A study group at the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications held its first meeting Wednesday, where it discussed ways to spur industry competition with the aim of lowering mobile phone fees in the nation.

The group intends to discuss a possible review of fees paid by low-cost smartphone service providers to major mobile phone carriers in order to lease their networks.

It will also study the creation of a system to monitor mobile phone rates on an ongoing basis.

The group plans to compile an interim report in February next year by working with a special committee at the ministry that is considering better competition rules for the entire telecommunications industry.

The industry has been criticized for lacking competition, Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Masatoshi Ishida said at the day’s meeting, calling on members of the study group to conduct their discussions from the standpoint of mobile phone users.

Mobile phone rates in Japan are higher than those in other countries, said Tatsuya Kurosaka, an industry expert and professor at Keio University, at the meeting.