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Closer look called for before taking action to lower cellphone bills

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When a market fails to function properly, the government may have to step in. But the decision to take such a step should be preceded by a careful assessment of the situation based on data and a big-picture debate.

No sooner had the new administration of Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga taken office than it began to stress the need to lower mobile phone bills in Japan.

In his inaugural news conference, Suga shot the first salvo in his battle to tackle this problem by denouncing how the three leading wireless carriers have been capitalizing on their market dominance to rake in hefty profits.

“While using frequency bands that are public assets, the three largest mobile service providers have maintained their oligopoly, controlling 90 percent of the market for years,” he pointed out. “They have been enjoying operating profit margins of as high as 20 percent by charging fees that are among the highest in the world."

Suga cited high cellphone rates in Japan as an example of “a thing that is not normal.”

Internal Affairs and Communications Minister Ryota Takeda has echoed Suga’s........

© The Asahi Shimbun

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