TOKYO – KDDI Corp. has decided to charge 2,480 yen ($24) a month for 20-gigabyte data usage, the cheapest option among major Japanese wireless carriers, sources with knowledge of the plan said Tuesday, as they scramble to cut fees amid mounting government pressure.
In an increasingly fierce competition to win over customers with cheaper options in the saturated domestic market, NTT Docomo Inc. and SoftBank Corp. have set their respective 20-gigabyte plans at 2,980 yen, or 500 yen higher than KDDI’s.
KDDI, the operator of the “au” brand, is expected to announce the new plan on Wednesday, along with price options for larger data usage, according to the sources.
The mobile industry has been shaken by a call by the government of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to lower fees that are seen as higher than in other countries. NTT Docomo, KDDI and SoftBank dominate the domestic market, with smaller newcomers like Rakuten Mobile Inc. vying for a bigger share.
Industry leader NTT Docomo plans to launch an “ahamo” service in March and SoftBank will also launch a new budget brand with messaging app operator Line Corp., both charging 2,980 yen a month for 20 gigabytes of data.
KDDI has yet to unveil price options for bigger data usage but President Makoto Takahashi has said his company wants to do so in January.
NTT Docomo has announced it will charge 6,650 yen a month for 5G unlimited data usage and 6,550 yen for 60 gigabytes of data under 4G. SoftBank plans to offer a 6,580 yen plan for unlimited data usage, whether it be for 4G or 5G.