Aeon to offer cheaper smartphone service in July

Japan Economic Newswire |

Major Japanese retailer Aeon Co. said Monday it will begin selling Friday a smartphone with its lowest fees yet, in a move likely to intensify the price war between mobile carriers and retailers new to the smartphone market.

Aeon aims to sell 50,000 of the new smartphone model with increased communication speed and the capability to display videos, it said. The move comes as major home electronics retailers also have started selling budget smartphones while mainstream mobile phone carriers introduce flat-rate call services to lower smartphone fees.

With a 5-inch liquid crystal display, the new Aeon smartphone was developed by Tokyo-based Jenesis Holdings Ltd. Its monthly basic fee is 2,138 including tax, cheaper than the 3,218 yen smartphone model that Aeon begin selling in April.

After Aeon entered the smartphone market in April, major mobile phone carrier NTT Docomo Inc. introduced a flat-rate smartphone voice calling service in June. The other two major mobile phone service providers, Softbank and KDDI's au service, followed suit in offering flat-rate call services to keep attracting customers.

Major electronics retailer Bic Camera Inc. also started selling inexpensive smartphones in April.

Aeon offers its smartphones by teaming up with a mobile virtual network operator which leases and resells network capacity from a major carrier.

Aeon will start accepting orders for the new smartphone Tuesday at its 447 group outlets nationwide, including convenience stores.

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