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Apr 20, 2012 | Cellphone prices in Japan

One of the things that is pretty interesting in coming to Japan was the difference in cellphone contract and plans. The most common plan is a two-year contract. As the photo below (link) in the NTT Docomo brochure shows, the cheapest plans are at about ¥980 per month. With this you’re given ¥1050 of call allotment, which translates to about 25 minutes of free minutes (or ¥42 per minute). SoftBank, another provider, provides the same price for unlimited calls to other Softbank users between 1am and 9pm. Otherwise it’s about ¥42 (or 50 cents) per minute.

Even if you subscribe to the most expensive plan (in the 2-year contract), your per-minute call price ends up being ¥7.875 (or 10 cents). This is pretty expensive given that Tracphone’s most expensive pay-as-you-go plan is at about 13 cents a minute, and AT&T’s price is also 10 cents per minute. 2-year contract prices obviously bring this price down considerably.

By contrast, there is only one prepaid phone provider in Japan (SoftBank) and one phone to choose from, and their price ends up being about $1 a minute for outgoing calls. Incoming calls however are free and unlimited, and you can pay about $4 for 30 days of completely free email and MMS. This may be the general reason as to why per-minute outgoing calls are so expensive. There’s also the general (unfortunate) assumption that prepaid phones are used by foreigners or by the yakuza.

This entry was posted on Friday, April 20th, 2012 at 5:06 am, EST under the category of Uncategorized. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.