Softbank Mobile Corp. said Tuesday it will reduce the minimum monthly basic fee for Apple Inc.’s iPhone from the current ¥2,990 to ¥2,324 in a stated bid to counter the latest move by larger rival NTT DoCoMo Inc. to launch new low-charge services.

It will be the second time Softbank Mobile has lowered the minimum monthly basic fee for iPhone 3G users since the company started selling the model in July.

The new basic fee, effective Wednesday, is nearly ¥5,000 lower than the initial charge of ¥7,280.

The cut in the minimum monthly charge will be made by lowering fixed fees for services such as e-mail and Internet access.

The company made no bones about the purpose of the price cut.

“This is meant to offer a new price within 24 hours of NTT DoCoMo’s new price announcement” to compete with Japan’s biggest carrier, Softbank Mobile said in a statement.

Softbank Mobile’s announcement came after industry leader DoCoMo said Monday it will launch new low-cost services in October, offering a flat monthly rate plan of ¥1,029 for infrequent users, compared with the current ¥4,095.

Via Kyodo