• Kyodo

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Japan’s top three mobile carriers stopped or will stop charging customers contract cancellation fees, with SoftBank Corp. becoming the last to decide on such a plan, amid government efforts to spur competition in the mobile phone market.

SoftBank, the nation’s third largest mobile phone service operator by subscribers, said Tuesday it will discontinue cancellation charges in February when customers terminate contracts signed by September 2019. The company does not request such fees for subscriptions since that time.

Leading mobile carrier NTT Docomo Inc. scrapped their cancellation policy this month and KDDI Corp., the second largest mobile operator, plans to do so by the end of March.

In the mobile phone market dominated by the three companies, each charged or charges ¥9,500 ($80) to cancel two-year contracts — discouraging consumers from switching their services to other carriers’ whenever they wish.

In October 2019, a revised telecommunications business law came into effect, requiring mobile carriers to cut cancellation fees for two-year contracts to ¥1,000 or under.

The carriers, however, had maintained cancellation charges for contracts introduced before the new regulation was implemented, until the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry last month called on them to review the policy.

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