"Astel Hokuriku Corp., a personal handy-phone system (PHS) operator, will offer a flat-rate data service for wireless Internet access, beginning May 1.
"Called "Net Hodai", the new service will carry a charge of 4,980 yen per month. This includes the basic PHS monthly fee, a data transmission fee, and charges for connection to the Internet service provider, Hokuden Information System Service Co., Ltd.
"The upcoming Net Hodai service will offer data transmission for a fixed fee of 2,500 yen per month, using the 32kbps PHS Internet access forum standard (PIAFS). It will be available in Astel Hokuriku's PHS service areas.
"As a part of launching the new service, Astel Hokuriku has set up a new "data-only" plan, with a basic charge of 980 yen per month, for subscribers seeking to use PHS for data services only. Subscribers using the PC card-type AN-X1 PHS handsets will be able to sign up for the plan.
"Currently, Hokuden Information System Service Co., Ltd. is the only ISP that will handle the Net Hodai. The company provides Internet access services for a flat rate of 1,500 yen a month. Adding this access charge to Astel Hokuriku's Net Hodai fixed fee and the data-only monthly charge, the total comes to 4,980 yen per month. Subscribers paying this amount are entitled to 24-hour access to the Internet.
"Astel Hokuriku is the third PHS operator to offer flat-rate wireless Internet access. Hokkaido Telecommunication Network Co., Inc. (HOTnet) and Astel Shikoku Corp. began similar services in March.