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Docomo, SoftBank chastised for excessive phone discounts

TOKYO -- The government has censured Japanese mobile phone carriers NTT Docomo and SoftBank for offering discounts amounting to phone giveaways, ordering both to raise handset prices in line with new policies that took effect this month.

     Docomo had reported offering handsets for an effective 600 yen ($5.43) or so each when two or more are purchased under a family plan as of Friday, in response to a price survey by the communications ministry. The mobile unit of SoftBank Group reportedly offered effectively free handsets and a rebate of around 20,000 yen to customers transferring their numbers from other carriers. The deal applied to devices including Apple's iPhone and phones running Google's Android operating system.

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