Here’s a recap’ of the current iPhone pricing plan in Japan, as sold by Softbank (special offers by Yodobashi Camera, Bic Camera or others are not taken into account, for simplicity’s sake).
All prices include taxes. The iPhone has to be bought with a 24 months contract. Prices in red are the minimum requirements.
JPY 2,835 for a new Softbank contract, or JPY 1,995 for a Softbank contract upgrade. This is a one-shot fee.
The White Plan costs JPY 980 per month.
- doesn’t include minutes
- 1AM to 9PM: free calls to other Softbank users, JPY 21 per 30 seconds for other carriers (excluding international calls and special numbers)
- 9PM to 1AM: JPY 21 per 30 seconds (excluding international calls and special numbers)
- SMS, free to other Softbank users. S!Mail (@i.softbank.jp) free to other Softbank users (for others, data charges apply, see below)
The Double White Plan costs JPY 1,960 per month
- doesn’t include minutes
- 1AM to 9PM: free calls to other Softbank users, JPY 10.5 per 30 seconds for other carriers (excluding international calls and special numbers)
- 9PM to 1AM: JPY 10.5 per 30 seconds (excluding international calls and special numbers)
- SMS, free to other Softbank users. S!Mail (i.softbank.jp) free to other Softbank users (for others, data charges apply, see below)
If you have a family member that also has a Softbank contract, remember to ask for the 24/7 free call option (White Plan Family Discount 24).
This unlimited data plan includes your browsing, email fetching and push services. The MMS (called “email” in Japan) is not possible on the iPhone (Softbank supplies a @i.softbank.jp address, but it’s not the real keitai MMS, since smileys and other options aren’t possible). All usual Yahoo! Keitai services cannot be accessed with the iPhone.
As announced on my blog
, as of August 27, the Packet Flat Rate Full price was revised (for the second time since July 11): up to 12,250 packets, the plan flatly costs JPY 1,029. It then increments by JPY 0.084 by packet until it reaches JPY 5,985. As of this price, or 71,250 packets, there’s no more price increments.
JPY 5,985 is hence the maximum cost for the plan.
Note that 71,250 packets represent a little less than 10MB of data transfers. The incremental pricing plan is thus particulary useful if Wifi is the preferred method of data usage.
Data roaming is not covered here, as the price depends on each country visited.
The S! Basic Pack is required upon the iPhone purchase. It costs JPY 315 per month.
You received the @i.softbank.jp email address with a limit of 200MB or 5,000 emails. Storage is given for an unlimited time.
The Basic Option Package offers the possibility to use the iPhone specific Visual Voice Mail function (without it, you can only use the normal voicemail by dialing 1416). You can save up to 90 3-minutes voicemails.
It also brings you Call Waiting and Group Calling (up to six calls conference). It costs JPY 498.75 per month.
Note these exist separately: Visual Voice Mail is JPY 315 per month. The Call Waiting costs JPY 210 per month. The Group Calling costs JPY 210 per month.
Softbank can deliver a itemized charge report for JPY 105 per month.
Finally, the Apple Care Protection Plan at JPY 7,800
Handset price & discounts:
This is the tricky part that many (especially foreigners) don’t understand. Since September 2007, the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications banned the practice of selling heavily-subzidized handsets while keeping the communincation costs high (it has led to a market shrinkage, by the way).
Softbank thus created the various discounts to offer new incentives to its customers.
- How much costs the 16GB iPhone 3G handset ? JPY 3,360 per month, minus the offered discount of JPY 1,920 per month. So, the iPhone costs JPY 3,360 – JPY 1,920 = JPY 1,440 per month, or JPY 34,560 after the 24 month.
- For the 8GB iPhone 3G, the cost is JPY 2,880 per month minus a JPY 1,920 discount per month. The handset then costs JPY 960 per month or JPY 23,040 after the 24 months.
The Japan iPhone price is then in line with what Steve Jobs announced for the US. Only that you pay it over a period of 24 month.
Foreigners might be asked to pay the full price upfront (lack of credit card or credit card validity not covering the 24 months contract is often the reason). For the 16GB iPhone 3G, the price is JPY 80,640.
The JPY 1,920 discount per month still applies however. So, after the 24 month, the final price will be the same amount (JPY 34,560 or JPY 23,040).
In this case, getting the iPhone in a Yodobashi Camera or Bic Camera store might be a better idea, since points can be accrued on a Point Card.
The discount is lost if a contract is ended before the 24 months period and the remaining price of the iPhone will be asked for.
I’ve tried to keep things as simple as possible in here (especially on the discount policies that can lead to endless discussions). Feel free to comment.