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Cheaper cell phone systems on way

Date Posted: 2002-05-28

New technologies utilizing the Internet promise to revolutionize nation's cell phone business offering unheard of cheap rates and unmatched data capabilities. A Tokyo-based company Youzan is planning to put the first such phones for sale starting this fall.

Youzan recently bought Tokyo Telecommunication Network Co.'s PHS business and plans to use the PHS antenna network as a high speed LAN hub. In the first phase the new service will be offered in Tokyo area.

Another Tokyo company called 3-D Com is planning to start a similar service they call Mobile IP Phone Service in March next year. The company plans to charge its customers a flat monthly fee of 3,000 per month regardless of how much a customer uses the phone. The company plans to offer the service through some 30,000 convenience stores nation wide that will also serve as the locations of their LAN hubs.

The General Affairs Ministry has already designated frequencies to these new systems. The phones will have numbers starting 050. The emergence of the new systems is sure to force conventional cell phone operators to lower their fees in order to stay competitive.

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