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iPhone in Japan

June 26th, 2009

If you have an iPhone 3G in Japan and are interested in upgrading to the 3G, then bad news: SoftBank is not offering you any special deals. If you have the 3G, then that means you still have at least one year left on your contract-with-subsidy, and you can receive subsidy for only one phone at a time. Getting the new iPhone now would mean paying full price, or about 65,000 yen. That would be spread over 24 months, and maybe (maybe, I’m not sure) a discount would apply in the last 12 of those months, reducing the cost some, but it would still be pretty expensive. So I’m waiting for the next model.

Another tip: if you got your 3G in Japan before the price drops a few months ago, you should go to SoftBank and get your contract adjusted. When the subsidized price for the 8GB 3G fell to 0 yen (and the 16GB version’s price was cut in half), they also lowered the cost for the data plan, from ¥5,985 to ¥4,410 ($62 to $46), but don’t be fooled into thinking that the new price applies to you; if you signed up before that price was instituted, then you’re still paying it. You have to go to SoftBank and apply for the new price plan. And while they’re at it, they demand that your contract be extended to two years after the change. If you’re intending to get the next iPhone after your first two years are up anyway, then there’s no problem with that, and it won’t affect your ability to get the next iPhone’s subsidy–the contract extension and the subsidy discount are not linked. Or so they told me, and I was pretty specific in the questioning.

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  1. matthew
    June 26th, 2009 at 10:53 | #1

    I got the iphone during the campaign a few months ago. Really like it. It lacks some features my old phone had but nothing that is a deal breaker. The more i use it the more i like it. My only desire for the latest version would be the extended battery life and perhaps the better camera.

    As always, my thanks to you, Luis, for turning me on to apple computers and apple products.

  2. Yama
    July 1st, 2009 at 10:57 | #2

    The battery life for the new iPhone 3GS appears to be worse, not better than, the previous model. See this Wired Magazine piece for details.


  3. Nevan
    July 3rd, 2009 at 14:35 | #3

    I went to a Softbank shop to ask about upgrading from 3G to 3GS and they told me that I’d have to pay the full price again (I paid 80,000 the first time). It’d work out about 74,000 for the 32G model. The bad thing it that I’d lose the 2,000 a month that Softbank are paying me to compensate for paying the full price upfront, or about ¥30,000 (15 months of contract left).

    It seems like a better deal to wait until it comes out in Taiwan, buy a cheap ticket and get a factory unlocked version there. That way I can swap out the sim, and use a better network if I want (AU or Docomo or anyone but Softbank).

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