KDDI Corp. said Monday it will launch ultrafast 5G wireless services in Japan later this week, offering a monthly plan with unlimited data for 8,650 yen ($77) to entice customers who want to enjoy video and online gaming on the go.
From Thursday, if customers combine a number of promotions, the price of unlimited data use can drop to as low as 3,460 yen a month for users of the "au" mobile phone service the company operates. Its rivals NTT Docomo Inc. and SoftBank Corp. said they will start 5G services from Wednesday and Friday, respectively.
KDDI's 5G services will be available in 15 of Japan's 47 prefectures as of the end of March before expanding nationwide from the summer, the company said. It will install 10,000 base stations by the end of March 2021 and another 10,000 by the end of March 2022.
"We made quite audacious price plans," said KDDI President Makoto Takahashi during a teleconference. "We hope 5G use will be boosted in areas such as entertainment, arts, sports and amusement."
"We hope to win over 2 million users by the end of fiscal 2020," he said, adding the figure is expected to be slightly lower than the number of subscribers at the start of the current 4G services.
KDDI also offers plans that include Netflix video and Apple Music streaming services and will start a two-year campaign that allows users to enjoy 5G services at around the same price as the current 4G services.
It will sell seven new models of 5G-compatible smartphones, including those by Chinese makers Xiaomi Corp. and Guangdong Oppo Mobile Telecommunications Corp.
NTT Docomo, which will launch its 5G services in 29 prefectures, said it plans to offer the network allowing data transmission of up to 100 gigabytes at a monthly fee of 7,650 yen. But for the time being there will be no upper limit on the amount of data transfer as part of the campaign.
SoftBank, meanwhile, plans to charge an additional 1,000 yen per month for its 5G services that will initially be launched in seven prefectures, but will exempt existing and new customers for two years via a promotion that will run through the end of August.