Japan to Ask NTT to Improve Anti-Competitive Sales Operations
Japan's government said it will instruct Nippon Telegraph & Telephone Corp., the country's largest phone operator, on Feb. 18 to improve its business because its sales operations may have harmed competition.
The telecommunications ministry will ask NTT East Corp. and NTT West Corp. to submit their improvement measures by March 31, Yasuhiko Taniwaki, director of the ministry's telecommunications policy division, said today by phone.
The two fixed-line units may have used information on their customers to sell fiber-optic Internet services, the ministry said. They also may have sold mobile phones of NTT DoCoMo Inc. and given preferential treatment to affiliates including providers of NTT's fiber-optic Internet services, it said.
``We haven't engaged in any practice that stifles fair competition,'' Hideki Ohmichi, an NTT spokesman, said by phone.
NTT, which was privatized in 1985, is Japan's biggest provider of fixed-line and wireless phone services and Internet access. It incorporates five major units under a holding company structure that followed a state-led reshuffle in 1999.
The government introduced a monitoring system last year to prevent NTT from using its advantage as a former phone monopoly. It plans to resume talks on the breakup of the company in 2010.
The Nikkei newspaper reported on the telecommunications ministry's administrative action earlier today.
NTT fell 0.4 percent to 507,000 yen on the Tokyo Stock Exchange at the close of trading on Feb. 15.