TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese regulators stated on Wednesday Apple Inc (AAPL.O) could have breached antitrust guidelines by forcing cell service suppliers to promote its iPhones cheaply and cost greater month-to-month charges, denying customers a good selection.

FILE PHOTO: A member of Apple workers takes photos as new iPhone X begins to promote at an Apple Retailer in Beijing, China November three, 2017. REUTERS/Damir Sagolj/File Picture

The Honest Commerce Fee (FTC) stated that the Japanese unit of Apple had pressured NTT Docomo Inc (9437.T) , KDDI Corp (9433.T) and SoftBank Group Corp (9984.T) to supply subsidies and promote iPhones at a reduction.

“Obliging carriers to supply subsidies (for iPhones) may have prevented the carriers from providing decrease month-to-month costs and restricted competitors,” the FTC stated in a press release.

The FTC, which started trying into Apple’s gross sales practices in 2016, didn’t punish Apple because the U.S. firm had agreed to revise its contracts with the carriers, it stated.

Apple representatives in Japan weren’t instantly obtainable for remark.

The U.S. firm accounts for one in each two smartphones offered in Japan, in line with MM Analysis Institute Ltd, making Japan one in all its most worthwhile markets.

The carriers offered the iPhones at a reduction, the FTC stated, giving Apple a bonus over rivals similar to Samsung Electronics (005930.KS).

As a way to make up for the losses, they locked customers into profitable two- and four-year contracts, the watchdog stated.

In revising the contracts, Apple has agreed to permit the carriers to supply clients a selection of shopping for iPhones with out subsidies however paying decrease month-to-month costs, the FTC stated.

Reporting by Makiko Yamazaki and Yoshiyasu Shida; Modifying by Ritsuko Ando and Muralikumar Anantharaman