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5G networks

Japan's Docomo to slash 5G rates by 13% as pressure mounts

Top carrier also to allow unlimited data usage

NTT Docomo's 5G monthly service fees are set to be slashed by 1,000 yen. (Photo by Kai Fujii)

TOKYO -- NTT Docomo is expected to lower its monthly charge for 5G service by 1,000 yen ($9.66) in April, as Japan's leading mobile carrier responds to pressure from Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to reduce rates.

Under the plan being finalized, the new rate will be 6,650 yen a month, down 13%. Docomo would become the first major Japanese player to cut rates on an existing large-data-volume plan.

Docomo also intends to offer unlimited data by dropping its 100-gigabyte limit.

Subscribers using large amounts of data currently have two choices: a 5G plan offering up to 100GB for 7,650 yen and a 4G option with a 30GB cap costing 7,150 yen.

The price of the 4G plan is expected to be lowered by 600 yen, with the data limit doubled to 60GB. Customers likely will be able to roll over any unused data to the following month.

For lower-volume plans of up to 7GB, Docomo is expected to consider reducing rates in the future.

On Dec. 3, Docomo announced a new plan offering up to 20GB for 2,980 yen. While this option keeps costs low by requiring online signups, the carrier will continue to offer support at its roughly 2,300 shops across Japan for the plans subject to the latest rate cuts. Docomo is expected to continue offering its popular family discounts.

Rivals KDDI and SoftBank Corp. are certain to feel pressure to lower their rates, and a race to the bottom could ensue if they follow suit. KDDI is set to unveil a pricing strategy for its main au brand next month.

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