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Osaka Gas President Masataka Fujiwara | KYODO
Osaka Gas President Masataka Fujiwara | KYODO

Osaka Gas Co. plans to enter the fixed-line telecommunications business as early as fiscal 2022, a first time among major city gas suppliers in Japan, President Masataka Fujiwara has said.

With the move, made in light of increasing digitalization, the company aims to strengthen its profitability by utilizing its existing customer network, Fujiwara said in a recent interview.

“The fixed-line communications market is gradually growing amid the coronavirus crisis, including demand for e-commerce and videoconferences, and there are synergies with businesses related to homes,” Fujiwara said.

Osaka Gas, which mainly serves western Japan, will enhance customer convenience by adding the fixed-line telecom business to the comprehensive services it offers customers, such as gas appliances and water repairs, according to Fujiwara.

Osaka Gas has gained about 1.56 million electricity contracts thanks to the liberalization of electricity and gas retailing in Japan, but its core gas business has lost about 1.29 million contracts in the meantime.

The company, therefore, faces the challenge of improving services to expand its customer base.

Fujiwara also expressed the company’s intention to start supplying gas in urban areas in India, which has continued to post economic growth.

“If emerging countries are growing, they can’t rely solely on renewable energy,” Fujiwara said, pledging that Osaka Gas will “contribute to (resolving) social issues by increasing the use of natural gas during the transition” to a carbon-free society.

The company will cooperate with partner companies knowledgeable about conducting business in India for this project, the president said.

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