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Do you know why I don’t want to track every subscription plan change in Japan? This is not a price comparison website, but most and foremost, it’s more complex that believed and it changes often.

That latter part has always been accelerating when a popular phone was released—the iPhone being a prime example. Competition is not the only factor: even when SoftBank exclusively introduced the iPhone in 2008, it adapted the plan a few days into the launch.

It’s no surprise that the race is on for this coming weekend—the iPhone will fly off the shelves.

A post by Intermezzo very accurately compares the iPhone offers between the three carriers. In a nutshell, DOCOMO is beating its competitors on iPhone subsidy  by quite a margin—SoftBank and au/KDDI being quite close to each other.1

That DOCOMO has the most aggressive pricing plans is not a surprise: DOCOMO wants to fight back with the iPhone . It does not even differentiate that much between new and existing customers, everyone would get an aggressive subsidy2 whereas the SoftBank and au/KDDI would treat an existing customer much worse.

The sign that the pricing war is heating up? The DOCOMO special deal for students was the best by very far3. Yesterday, losing no time, SoftBank announced it would match DOCOMO’s student deal. Could au/KDDI do ignore this? Not even a few hours later, it matched it.

DOCOMO still has an edge on overall pricing. But, who knows, that could change very quickly.


  1. the calculation was made on how much an iPhone would cost a user for a 2 year contract period. 

  2. which also translates into a comparatively much higher penalty if one decides to cancel the contract before its end on DOCOMO. 

  3. luring in students—as in customers below 22 basically—with number portability by offering them a discount valid three years 

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