Japan’s Fair Trade Commission conducted a spot inspection Wednesday of Japan’s third-largest mobile telecommunication carrier J-Phone Co. Ltd, which is under suspicion of manipulating its mobile phone prices at retail stores.
J-Phone, a subsidiary of Vodafone Group PLC, is accused of illegally pressuring its retailers not to reduce prices, but to maintain recommended prices on its popular camera-equipped handsets, according to the Fair Trade Commission.
The company started Japan’s camera-equipped cell phone boom two years ago. A total of 7 million [M] such handsets were sold, as of Oct. 23, according to J-Phone.
Japan’s largest mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. and the second largest KDDI Corp. followed J-phone in April this year, releasing camera-equipped handsets.
“We know that the company is not in the position to control the phone prices sold at retail stores, ” said a J-Phone spokesman who requested anonymity. “The Fair Trade Commission is inspecting our office in order to confirm allegations. Therefore, we are fully cooperating with its inspection and will wait for the results.”
The inspection is expected to be continued for six months to one year, according to the Fair Trade Commission.