Japan Opening Cellular Market To Competition

    June 3, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

Long dominated by three companies, the mobile phone market will see a big change later this year.

NTT DoCoMo, KDDI, and Vodafone, have had the Japanese market to themselves for quite a while.

But the result of a later-dropped lawsuit from Yahoo’s broadband partner Softbank has led to the drafting of new legislation by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications, according to AFP.

The Ministry regulation will dictate that the government gives priority to new entrants to the Japanese mobile phone market when it allocates frequency spectrum later this year.

That allocation of the high-speed 800MHz band will let companies provide third generation services like e-mail, video, and other profitable downloadable content.

Already fierce competition will become even moreso, not only due to new entrants into the market. Next year, customers will have access to wireless number portability. That will let a customer keep a phone number, but change wireless providers.

Wireless number portability was recently enabled in the United States, and should be a feature available to Canadians in the near future.

The change to the Japanese competitive landscape will be the first in twelve years. Currently, the three providers have been undercutting each other with discounts on various service charges.

NTT still reigns as the top provider of land-line services in the country, even after its monopoly on telecom services was broken. KDDI has been challenging NTT’s DoCoMo service, with offerings like a free mobile-updated weblog for subscribers.

Called DuoBlog, the service will be a first among the three providers, as KDDI seeks to continue eating into DoCoMo’s lead.

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.