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Soft law > Concerted Practices

Issues Concerning Competition Policy in the Mobile Phone Market

Japan Fair Trade Commission, Guidelines, 2016

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The telecommunications businesses, including mobile phone-related businesses, play a role in laying the industrial foundations for increasing productivity and creating new businesses. In addition, the number of mobile phone contracts per capita exceeds one. In this situation, communications services are now essential for daily life, and there has been a growing shift from feature phones to smartphones in recent years. In the mobile phone market, it is important to promote competition in order to achieve lower communications service fees, terminal prices and service diversification through stimulating the creative initiative of enterprises by means of market mechanisms. That is, active competition will enable users to be free to select terminals in accordance with their needs, choosing from among a wide variety of services, including communications services, and price plans. Meanwhile, because only a limited number of operators are able to receive radio wave allocations due to the limitations and scarcity of radio waves in the mobile phone market, it is not easy to promote competition through the new entry of mobile network operators (MNO). It is therefore particularly important to create and develop a competition environment where MVNOs, which provide mobile communications services by utilizing radio wave allocated to MNOs, can compete as market players.
For issues concerning competition policy in the mobile phone market, it is necessary not only to promote competition for communications contracts, on the whole, by correcting the sales methods of MNOs in terms of encouraging the new entry of MVNOs, but also to promote competition for manufacturing and selling mobile terminals (including applications and OS) by correcting the dealing practices of MNOs and terminal manufacturers.