KDDI teamed with Singapore-based MVNO Circles Asia to introduce online-only plans under the Povo brand, responding to pressure from the Japanese government for more affordable and flexible tariffs.

From March, KDDI will provide 20GB of data for JPY2,480 ($23.84) per month for LTE service, with a 5G option to be added by the middle of the year.

Add-ons are available, with a JPY200 buying 24 hours of unlimited data access and JPY500 for a feature offering free domestic calls for up to five minutes.

KDDI will also introduce unlimited 5G and 4G data packages for JPY6,580 a month, or JPY1,500 for customers using 3GB or less per month.

And on 1 February the operator plans to introduce low-cost 4G plans ranging from JPY1,480 for 3GB a month to JPY3,480 for 25GB under the Kurikoshi discount brand, with 5G to be added later in the year.

The moves are a response to pressure by Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga for operators to reduce mobile tariffs, part of a long-standing push against what he considers excessive fees.

Circles Asia operates MVNOs in Singapore and Australia under the Circles.Life brand.