SoftBank Corp outlined its 5G pricing strategy, as it moves to take a leading role in the next-generation technology by launching a commercial mobile service by the close of the month.

The operator announced it would begin offering consumer services on 27 March, initially in Tokyo, Osaka, Hiroshima City and the broader prefecture, and some areas in Chiba and Aichi Prefectures.

Customers on the Marihari Plan, Mini Fit Plan, Smartphone Debut Plan and Data Share Plan, can purchase 5G as an add-on for JPY1,000 ($9.36) per month, however in a push to encourage customers to make the switch, the operator said the add-on will be free for two years for customers who sign up before 31 August.

SoftBank lined up four compatible smartphones: Sharp Aquos R5G and ZTE Axon 10 Pro 5G will be available from launch; while the LG V60 ThinQ 5G and Oppo Reno3 5G added in April and July respectively.

Rivals KDDI and NTT Docomo are also preparing commercial launches this month, but are yet to set dates.

New entrant Rakuten Mobile is set to enter the fray in April, with reports stating it will initially offer 4G before lighting a 5G service in June. Earlier this week it detailed plans to offer service for free in a bid to swiftly build its user base.