NTT Docomo to lower large data usage fees under gov't pressure

NTT Docomo Inc said Friday it will lower monthly charges for its large data usage plans by up to 1,000 yen ($9.6) from April in a move that comes amid pressure from the government to cut mobile phone fees.
Its major rivals SoftBank Corp and KDDI Corp, which operates the au brand, are likely to follow suit in a sign of intensifying price competition in an oversaturated market.
Docomo, Japan's largest mobile carrier by subscribers, will offer unlimited data usage under the 5G networks for 6,650 yen per month, compared with the current 7,650 yen with an upper limit of 100 gigabytes.
It will charge 6,550 yen for a 60-gigabyte monthly plan under the 4G networks, compared with 7,150 yen with 30-gigabyte data usage.
Docomo Senior Executive Vice President Hozumi Tamura admitted that the new price plans will hit revenues. But he also said they are expected to attract more subscribers.
"We will make up for declines in revenues by expanding our business in other areas including cashless payment services," he told an online press conference.
KDDI, which currently provides its unlimited 5G data usage plan for 8,650 yen a month, said it will unveil cheaper plans next month.
SoftBank offers its 50-gigabyte data service under the high-speed networks for 8,480 yen.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who took office in September, has demanded major wireless carriers cut their fees, which he says are higher than those in other countries. Suga also says their profit margins are bigger than other infrastructure providers such as utilities.
Earlier this month, Docomo also said it will launch a 20-gigabyte monthly plan for 2,980 yen in March, cheaper than similar services offered by its rivals.

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