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In case you haven’t noticed, there’s a price war going on among mobile phone carriers in Japan, triggered by the Suga government’s mission to lower Japan’s comparatively high charges. And that can only be a good thing for consumers.

New service Rakuten Mobile kicked things off in March last year, jolting the industry with a ¥2,980 unlimited data plan. On top of that, it said it would offer the service free of charge for a year to the first 3 million subscribers.

NTT Docomo followed up in December with the announcement that it would launch a low-cost 20 gigabyte data plan from March with monthly fees set at ¥2,980. In a matter of days, SoftBank unveiled new plans that put it toe-to-toe with Docomo on prices, reports Kazuaki Nagata.

Cheaper mobile phone contracts in Japan, major carriers cut prices | CITY-COST JAPAN
Cheaper mobile phone contracts in Japan, major carriers cut prices | CITY-COST JAPAN

Last month, KDDI entered the fray, trumpeting a new low-cost mobile service plan with 20GB of data for ¥2,480 a month, the cheapest among the three mega-carriers’ comparable offers.

Not to be outdone, Rakuten Mobile responded Friday with a lower-cost plan in an effort to keep its edge over its rivals. The new kid on the block, which had been offering only one choice on price — unlimited mobile internet for ¥2,980 a month — now says it will lower the price depending on the amount of data used within the month, meaning the fee will even be free for particularly light users, Nagata reports.

How might the “big three” respond to that bombshell? Watch this space.

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