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Cell phone service battle heating up

Date Posted: 2006-10-27

A change in policy governing cell phone numbers went into effect Tuesday, as cellular phone companies began a new campaign for customers.

Effective October 24th, cell phone users can keep their existing telephone numbers when they change operators, as moving from NTT to KDDI, or switching other companies. Cellular phone users have been lobbying for the change for several years.

Softbank Mobile, formerly Vodaphone, is stepping up its campaign for new customers with some price changes. “If customers use Softbank cellular service to other Softbank customers, the telephone charges will be free,” a spokesman says. “Short email is free, too.”

Basic charges for Softbank services are ¥2,880, down from the current ¥9,800, and a company spokesman says his company will match basic plan changes of NTT and KDDI. Softbank President Masayoshi says “We had to make a big loan to buy Vodaphone Company, but we’re sure we can return the money.” He promises a fight with other cell phone companies, and says “I have confidence we can win over them.

Softbank ranks behind NTT and KDDI companies with a 16.8% share of the cellular phone service market. Giant NTT is the leader with 55% and KDDI holding 28% of Okinawa’s market.

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