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Softbank to start fiber-optic Net phone service.

TOKYO, July 29 Kyodo

Softbank Corp. will start an Internet telephone service using the fiber-optic line networks of other carriers in August, company officials said Sunday.

The firm will forgo fees on calls between subscribers using the fiber-optic Internet telephone service as well as calls to subscribers using its service based on an asymmetric digital subscriber line network to better compete with the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group, the officials said.

Softbank is currently offering its ADSL-based ''BB Phone'' Net telephone service to 5.5 million people.

Softbank has been studying the feasibility of starting a fiber-optic Internet phone service amid the growing difficulty in winning over fresh subscribers to its ADSL-based Net phone service due to the rapid spread of fiber-optic lines.

The new Net phone service will target users of NTT's fiber-optic lines and those of other carriers as Softbank has no plans to lay down its own fiber-optic line network, the officials said.

It plans to set a monthly basic fee of 315 yen for the fiber-optic Net phone service, while charging 8.4 yen for every three minutes for calls to fixed-line phones -- around the same level as the fees charged by other fiber-optic Internet phone service providers, they said.

Subscribers to the new fiber-optic Internet phone service will be provided with adapters to connect to the Softbank service, the officials said.

Subscribers will not be able to call the emergency numbers of 110 for the police and 119 for fire services from their Internet phones, they said.

Unlike regular phone services, which impose fees according to the distance of calls, Internet-based services levy uniform, low-level rates for calls across the country.
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Publication:Japan Computer Industry Scan
Date:Jul 30, 2007
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