Bank of Japan laments government push to cut mobile fees
Nikkei -- Sep 06
The Japanese government's recent push for mobile phone carriers to lower their service fees has vexed the Bank of Japan, which fears another drag on already sluggish inflation.

Like volatility in the yen and crude oil, falling mobile device prices and service fees due to competition have frequently held down overall consumer price growth, to the BOJ's frustration.

"A further drop in wireless fees would put downward pressure on prices," a senior central bank official said.

The BOJ's quarterly economic outlook report released in July called falling mobile-related prices a "sectoral shock" affecting inflation. It estimated that this reduced growth in the consumer price index by 0.16 percentage point in June.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga asserted last month that wireless service fees have room to fall another 40% or so. He urged more competition among carriers, citing a government analysis showing much higher prices in Japan than in other markets such as the U.K.

In an August poll by Nikkei, 65% of respondents said they consider wireless fees too high. If prices fall, then consumers will spend the money saved elsewhere, the government's thinking goes.

News source: Nikkei
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