• Kyodo

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KDDI Corp. said Monday it will launch ultrafast 5G wireless services later this week, offering a monthly plan with unlimited data for ¥8,650 ($77) to entice customers who want to enjoy video and gaming on the go.

From Thursday, if customers combine a number of promotions, the price of unlimited data use can drop to as low as ¥3,460 for users of au, its mobile phone service. Rivals NTT Docomo Inc. and SoftBank Corp. announced they will start 5G services from Wednesday and Friday, respectively.

KDDI’s 5G services will be available in 15 prefectures at the end of March before expanding nationwide in the summer, it said. KDDI will also install 10,000 base stations by the end of March 2021 and another 10,000 by the end of March 2022.

“We made quite audacious price plans,” KDDI President Makoto Takahashi said in a teleconference. “We hope 5G use will be boosted in areas such as entertainment, arts, sports and amusement.”

“We hope to win over 2 million users by the end of fiscal 2020,” he said, adding the figure is expected to be slightly lower than when 4G services began.

KDDI also offers plans that include streaming from Netflix and Apple Music, and plans to kick off a two-year campaign where customers will be able to enjoy 5G services for around the same price as 4G.

It will also market seven new models of 5G-compatible smartphones, including those from China’s Xiaomi Corp. and Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp.

NTT Docomo, whose 5G services will debut in 29 prefectures, said it plans to offer up to 100 gigabytes of data transmission for a monthly fee of ¥7,650. SoftBank, meanwhile, plans to charge an additional ¥1,000 per month for its 5G services, which will initially launch in seven prefectures.

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