Home > Focus on Japan 2008, Mac News > SoftBank Releases Official iPhone Pricing

SoftBank Releases Official iPhone Pricing

June 23rd, 2008

A few hours ago, SoftBank released their official pricing schedule for the iPhone in Japan. Despite doing two checks on the sites this morning and early afternoon, as well as stopping by both of their east-side Ikebukuro shops while out shopping this afternoon, I just found out about it from Roy leaving a comment. Talk about your watched pot.

Anyway, the news seems to be good. First, the pricing of the phones: ¥69,120 ($640) for the 8GB model, and ¥80,640 ($750) for the 16GB model. Before you gag, those are pre-discounted prices. After discounts (subsidies) applied with a 2-year contract, the costs are ¥23,040 ($215) and ¥34,560 ($320)–which, by the way, are just a few hundred yen off from my blind prediction twelve days ago–not bad! I guessed based on roughly a 10% higher price than in the U.S., which was not too amazing a guess since this is normal for Apple products in Japan.

But the bigger news that was welcomed today concerned the price of the data plan. A “leaked” memo (now apparently shown up as fake) had the data plan being ¥6800 yen plus ¥1800 for email, for a total of ¥8600 for the month, not counting the monthly installment for the phone itself and the ¥980 “White Plan” account. That would have totaled a staggering ¥10,540–nearly $100 a month.

According to the official press release, it’ll be ¥980 for the White Plan, another ¥315 for the S-Basic service (which appears to cover all email, not just SoftBank’s internal email), and ¥5985 ($55) for the unlimited data plan, for a total of ¥7280 ($68), not counting the ¥960 or ¥1440 for the monthly installments for the iPhones themselves.

More/edits after dinner, Sachi just set the table!

Categories: Focus on Japan 2008, Mac News Tags: by
  1. matthew
    June 24th, 2008 at 01:35 | #1

    Hi Luis,
    I am a big fan of my apple computer (thanks to you BTW) but I am just not seeing the iphone (as it is now—in japan) as something to get so excited about. Perhaps i am missing something, but as i see it, it is an expensive phone, with nothing more than I have now. In fact it has less. So let me play devils advocate–( I have the utmost respect for you) Why should I buy this phone now? Why not wait? Why not buy a different phone?

    A big thing for me is to combine all that i need into one machine. So a few months ago I bought a Samsung 920SC (softbank) so I could combine my phone and camera (it has a 5 megapix–really great photos!). I can do everything I want to with this phone, take great pix, blue tooth–I mean I have never hit a wall in what I wanted to do. (even roaming out of Japan). i know the iphone is also an Ipod but my phone can do that too. And i can plug in a SD card as well.

    I am very curious to hear you opinions.

    Best to you and yours

  2. Paul
    June 24th, 2008 at 02:07 | #2

    55 bucks a month for data? Ouch. In the US it’s going to go from 20/month for unlimited data to 30 for the 3G version. Then again, it sounds like the monthly service for voice is considerably cheaper over there.

    I can’t figure out if the 16gig version will be out on the first day they’re available here or not. I’m hoping so, because I’ve marked the 11th on my calendar. 😉

  3. Luis
    June 24th, 2008 at 02:11 | #3

    Well, I suppose it’s simple: if you like your phone and can use it to its capacity and the interface doesn’t hobble you, then probably you should stay with it. The iPhone is not a magical beast that will work for everyone. But the thing is, not every one can use those phones.

    Let me go back to 24 years ago. I had never seen a Mac before, and only knew the CLI (text command, green screen) kind of computers. I walked into a store and saw the first Mac. I sat down, and within five minutes, I was flying on it. Making pictures, typing documents–not one lesson, not one instruction book, not even a hint from the staff. I had never seen a GUI before, nor a mouse. It just came naturally.

    That’s what the iPhone brings, what Apple has always brought: ease of use, along with its new cool style, but the main thing is, ease of use. The iPhone is that writ large.

    I have a cell phone now, have had it for years. But I still can’t decipher most of what it does. I look at the menus and just have no clue. The manual is in Japanese and so it doesn’t help much, but the point is, if the iPhone were completely in Japanese, I’d have it figured out in five minutes. My boss handed me his cell phone because he couldn’t figure out how to find his own number, and after three minutes, neither could I. on the iPhone, it would have taken five seconds–there it is! Hand me your cell phone and ask me how to find the closest yakitori restaurant, and likely I’d be stumped. But if I handed you an iPhone, you’d be able to find it in short order.

    People who can understand the cell phones out there and make full use of all their features likely have no use for an iPhone. But people who don’t use 90% of what their phones do–which is most people–they need an iPhone. It has half as many features, but they’re ten times easier to figure out–so you get five times as much out of it.

    Open up Google Maps, and your current location comes up via GPS. Type in, “yakitori,” and all the local yakitori joints fall as push-pins onto the map. Tap on one that looks close, and you see the name; tap again and a web page comes up, or the phone number, which you call and get a reservation for.

    If I handed your current phone to a stranger, could they get that out of it? And yet it’s likely that a stranger could get all that and more from an iPhone.

    That’s the magic of it: it’s easy to use. You want to do something, it falls into your lap.

    like I said, for some people, they can already do that with their phones. If you can, then look no further. But if you have to go to the trouble of reading through the manual every time you need to use something and half the time it doesn’t work… if you are often frustrated because it’s so difficult to find a feature, or to use it… then maybe an iPhone is good for you. it doesn’t have to be.

    Right now, my phone is old, a crappy little thing, and even at that, I can’t figure out most of what it’s supposed to do. Just syncing with my Mac would be a miracle. but to make phone calls… visual voicemail (so I don’t have to wait five minutes for the worthless recordings to go by before the important one comes up)… getting email… push features so all my computers and my phone stay in automatic sync… publishing blog entries (with geotagging) on the fly, finding anything on the map with easy directions, browsing the Internet seamlessly without being limited to tiny “mobile” pages, being able to play music and videos and download tons of apps for free and some killer useful ones for a small fee, having the mobile OS and the ability to be endlessly expandable in function in ways that I can easily understand and handle….

    That makes it well worth my while. Right now I have to start up my computer every time a student asks for an appointment, or write it on a note I hope I’ll remember and enter later; with the iPhone I could just make a quick note of the appointment and then it migrates to both my Macs automatically, before I can get to either one.

    I could go on, but you get the idea.

    The strength of the iPhone is not that it has more features: it is that you can use the ones it has a lot more than you could before.

  4. Luis
    June 24th, 2008 at 02:20 | #4


    Yeah, looks like disparity between data/voice, at least generally. $10/mo gets you unlimited free calls between family members, unlimited free calls with any other users of the same carrier before 9pm–but 40 cents/minute for all other calls. Great for me, I rarely call people.

    But the data plans here are expensive–but maybe the really cheap fiber-optic Internet connections for the home make up for that–I get 100 Mbps for about $40/mo.

    I guess it all balances out in the end.

  5. June 25th, 2008 at 18:33 | #5

    Luis, I saw your post on iphoneinjapan.com but didn’t want to create an account there so I thought I would comment here about your reservation slip which you received from that Softbank Shop in Ikebukuro.

    One of the fundamental differences between Softbank and Docomo, AU is that almost all Docomo and AU shops are official shops where most of the services can be done on the spot and all staff are very well trained in the latest keitais usage and specifications. Softbank on the other hand inherited the infrastructure from Vodafone and J-Phone before that where all servicing was handled centrally in one big call centre. The shop brand was franchised out to keitai shops that wanted to appear “more official” but in effect was just like any other discount keitai shop where the person was not a employee and had limited knowledge of their services. This was obviously the way J-Phone was able to cut costs, at the expense of customer service, and which is why I generally prefer Docomo even though they are slower to market but provide better service. At least in my experience of using dozens of keitais over the years.

    Anyways, that was the main reason I hated J-Phone. Because for every question I asked the person at the shop, even simple ones, they had to call someone somewhere to get the answer. They also had to fax my application into the call centre and sometimes I had to wait over night to get my new phone. It was terrible customer service. This didn’t improve with Vodafone which tried to automate most of the process online. I met with my companies corporate representative from Softbank recently and talked to him about that and he said that Softbank was slowly changing this.

    So the reason I brought this up is because even though you went to a Softbank shop it may not be an “official” Softbank shop and they may not be following the proper procedures. You might want to call up the Omotesando shop which is definitely an official one and check with them…

Comments are closed.