NTT Slashes Telephone, Data Line Rates

Japan's two defacto monopoly local telephone service providers Thursday announced big reductions in their rates for intra-prefectural calls. The rates charged by the two companies have been repeatedly criticized for impending the growth of the Internet in Japan.

Those living far from major cities in areas without local Internet access points stand to gain most from the cuts, detailed in a new rate schedule announced simultaneously by NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp., which provide local and intra-prefectural call services in East and West Japan respectively. An intra-prefectural call is halfway between local and long distance -- between different area codes but within the same prefecture, or local government area.

The price of a three minute daytime call over more than 100 kilometers drops from 90 yen (85 US cents) to 40 yen. An equivalent evening call falls from 80 yen to 30 yen while a nighttime call drops from 60 yen to 20 yen. Over shorter distances prices have also been cut although the reductions are not so large. Over a distance of 50 kilometers, the price of a three minute daytime call falls from 50 yen to 30 yen while a nighttime call drops from 30 yen to 20 yen.

The price of calls within the same area code, which currently stands at 10 yen for a three minute daytime call, and nonlocal calls up to 20 kilometers in distance have been left unchanged. The reductions, which come into effect on October, apply to both analog and ISDN (Integrated Services Digital Network) calls.

The two companies also announced reductions in the price of their leased line services.

Rates for leased lines of between 192K bps (bits per second) and 6M bps and over 90 kilometers in length will fall by an average of 11 percent and a maximum of 29 percent. For lower speed services at 64k bps and 128k bps, for very high speed services at 50M bps and 150M bps, and for the low cost, no-frills low speed services, prices over the same distances will fall by an average of 19 percent and in some cases as much as 42 percent.

The two carriers are also cutting rates for their ATM (Asynchronous Transfer Mode) service by an average of 18 percent and a maximum of 31 percent.

NTT East, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.ntt-east.co.jp/. NTT West, in Osaka, can be found online at http://www.ntt-west.co.jp/.

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