Japan gets new MVNO and starts price war

Japan will get itself a new mobile operator next month and it doesn’t look like the more established players have any intention of sharing their toys. The new operator, EMobile, is the brainchild of KDDI founder Sachio Semmoto and will change no monthly subscription fee. Instead, customers will pay a per half-minute price for all calls, according to the FT, or a one-off payment per month for unlimited calls.

DoCoMo, which will initially provide the network for EMobile, has hit back with some new plans in an effort to stop its users’ heads being turned. One of the offers will see domestic voice calls between family members become completely free from the start of April – mimicking an offer announced recently by KDDI – while others give corporate customers subscribing to two services free voice and 60 percent off videophone charges for domestic calls to lines within the same group.

This looks like the start of a price war in Japan – and while that might be excellent news for mobile users, I wonder if the big operators will be quite so pleased if they’re forced to continue cutting prices for a long period.

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