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Cabinet approves bill to lower mobile phone fees in Japan

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but the its slower and the voice quality sucks

So incorrect that I don't even know how it gets through the filters.

I've spent nearly two years living in Europe, during that time I've lived in Italy, the UK, and Albania.

In all three countries, even in the most 'inaka' parts of Sicily, I had superb coverage and speeds that far outstripped my Softbank system, at prices ranging between 50-75% of the price.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Ditch the three main networks and go for an MVNOs. You'll be saving more than half your money every month.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

@M3M3M3

I have heard many cases of American firms doing the same thing, offering bundle services to make it more expensive. They do that in particular where they have monopoly, which are the internet providers. It seems that 90% of the Japanese market is controlled by 3 companies, it's even worse in America where in some states people have only one provider, but the reason is government regulations that make new entry difficult. It takes a lot of money to comply with all teh requirements, as a result, small companies can't even enter the market. I heard few years go that even Google gave up on providing internet because of the high costs of complying with regulations to put in the cables. I think it was only Kansas that had a deal with Google for them to offer their services there in exchange for Kansas to lower the costs. I haven't looked at it, but i am almost 99% sure the situation is the same in Japan. There must be a reason why small firms aren't competiting for lower prices. Either way, instead of banning companies from offering bundle services, they could perhaps mandate that companies make the prices of their services transparent and clear, isn't that going to have the same effect?

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I had a contract with Mineo and I only paid about 800Yen a month which is rather good in my opinion, at least compared to prices in Germany ^^V

And even with this Cheap company I had good connection in most places I have been.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I bailed on the Iphone last year for the Mi A1 Xiaomi. Only cost 23,000 yen including delivery from HK via GearBest and I switched from AU to Mineo. Happy as Larry on both counts.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Oh god!! Seriously in India we payed $2 per month for 42 Gb mobile data.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I switched over to Mineo in 2016. 1800 yen per month give or take, depending on how much I call. Needless to say I never looked back.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Who cares? Should this not be an incentive to get people to switch to a SIM free and take your mobile number with you! I pay 2,700 for 3 shared SIM’s with 12GB and plug it in iPhones and tablets which are unlocked. People already have that choice even if DoCoMo owns 99% of the Free SIM markets backbone.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Competition and free enterprise sure doesn't mean a lot when all the companies collaborate to set prices

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Actually, it shows how unimaginative most people are because most people use NTT, Softbank or Au, companies which have been ripping people off with high prices for years. Why don't they switch to MVNOs?

Because they lack the critical thinking abilities and tech knowledge to go with anything but an authority figure (even if that authority figure is harming them).

Folks - sim-free handsets can be bought cheap at denki stores (they even stock Huawei and Samsung now), find your favorite NVME and save a crap-ton of cash. Not to mention the flexibility to cancel or change plans.

Laws were changed in 2015 that opened the door for NVME's, but most of the locals are still unaware that it's the best option by far. They still think Docomo's criminal pricing is normal...

2 ( +2 / -0 )

What makes them think the rotten Japanese corporations won't create loopholes which require customers to enter contracts for unneeded services, wild amounts of data that can't even be used, etc?

Softbank, AU, Docomo and the like are all scams and operated with one hand in the pockets of organized crime groups. The new policy is just a means for the government to say they tried...

0 ( +0 / -0 )

It's just a proposal. By the time it becomes actionable and applicable, it will have been so watered down by lobbying from the Telcos as to make little difference. Best thing to do is buy your phone 100% outright, rather than paying over 2 years on a plan. They should also work on decreasing roaming charges and improving the system for unlocking phones. Although allowed, they make it difficult to do so.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

I don’t even want to get into my Japanese phone plan. It’s cheap but it sucks. It’s cheap because I use a 3rd party carrier that piggy backs on Docomo’s towers. Which means my phone is a low priority in heavy usage areas.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

@Strangeland

that Australia price sounds amazing. My current plan with T-Mobile in the USA gives me unlimited data, talk, and text at home as well as unlimited data and text abroad. I can call the world for free but when I’m roaming, it’s $0.20 per minute when I am not on WiFi. All of that cost me roughly $55 per month which is roughly ¥6,000.

If they now separate the prices of phones and the plan, doesn’t that mean they will still force people to use their phones but charge higher prices on individual services? Does this really lower the cost of anything?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Still cheaper than British fees

Flat out incorrect.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Strangerland

Australia: $40/month (roughly 3200 yen) includes 20GB data, unlimited local calling and texting, and unlimited calls to Japan and other countries.

You know you're getting ripped of when even Australia offers better pricing!

6 ( +6 / -0 )

This new proposed law HAS NO TEETH!

It will do NOTHING to stop the incredible price fixing going on among the top 3 carriers and does NOTHING to actually lower prices. It simply says carriers can't offer you discounts on a new phone purchase and carry over those discounts on monthly plans. If ANYTHING, it will make Softbank change their pricing structure, nothing else.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

The proposed revision will put the three companies, which together control nearly 90 percent of the domestic mobile phone market, in direct competition with smaller rivals such as Rakuten Inc, which have gained popularity in recent years for their cheaper, no-frills services.

I switched over to Rakuten mobile just a few months ago from Docomo. My phone bill has been cut in half from about 6,700 yen/month to about 2,900 yen/month.

It was kind of a hassle but well worth it. I recommend others do the same.

I get free phone calls if I use the Rakuten phone app, although my data usage cap is a little lower than before I don't even get close to reaching it. YouTube is still coming in crisp and clear with no interruptions.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Many carriers here have gone from a nickel-and-dime-you scheme (e.g. $0.05 per text message) to unlimited talk and text domestically (still throttles after 20 gb data usage though). To the future...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I figured out a long time ago that I needed to minimize what we paid for data via our mobile phone provider. And given that we have iPads and laptops where we need access when we are out, the solution was simple.

-- A basic mobile phone plan to cover voice and text, with limited data.

-- Getting a WiMax 2+ mobile router from Asahi Net that provides unlimited data for Yen 4,290 / month that creates a WiFi connection for all of our devices when we go out.

The mobile router is compact and light and coverage is awesome.

Just what works for us.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

If Abe is so concerned about the phone csrriers shafting the population as he is trying to portray.

How about the power companies which with the blessing of the gov't are ripping the public.

Highway toll has increased by about 40% under Abes watch. Not to forget manufacturers have taken advantage of Abe obsession with inflation to raise prices of commodities. Some have cunningly done so by reducing the size or quantity without informing the unsuspecting public.

The biggest theft practised this country is being charged by month instead of days spent in the hospital

If you spent feb 28 and march 1 in hospital u pay for 2 months feb and march instead of 2 days. It is robbery. One has to pray to not get admitted in hospital.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

30 dollars for 50 gigs overseas which only downgrades to 1.5megabit if you go over.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

AU and Softbank said they already comply 8-) Hahah !!!

I agree fully.  When I moved back to Japan I tried to use my unlocked Android at AU and DoCoMo and they gave me the "hiss" and it couldn't be done yet the very same phone was able to roam on those networks when I would come to visit.  Finally had to settle with Softbank but they kept trying to sell me a different model insisting that my phone doesn't work.

Compared to other nations in the area, Japan is pretty slow in meeting consumer needs.  I can go to a place like Thailand, and buy a tourist sim for 7 days complete with a Thai phone number and 10 GB data for roughly less than $10 USD.  Can't do something that simple in Japan without requiring some type of contract, passport, etc.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

So they are restricting companies from offering services that people want. If they want the prices to be lower, the only way to do that is to encourage competition.

But the biggest hurdle for any low cost competitor is that the average consumer doesn't really know how much they're actually paying. That's what this law aims to resolve. A non-itemized bill which includes the cost of the handset will obscure the cost of the monthly mobile plan and make it difficult to compare prices between service providers. The ability to ascertain and compare prices is the cornerstone of the free market, so I don't think a law like this is an unreasonable restriction of commercial freedom.

In Japan it's notoriously difficult to compare prices when companies offer all sorts of bundles, discounts and freebees for signing up. For example, last time I chose an internet provider I had to calculate the value of a free case of beer to determine whether I was getting an overall good deal or not. These tactics are just a deliberate attempt by companies to frustrate the free market by making price comparison more costly for consumers.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Scrote, phone price is shown separately (at least AU do it). You have 2 choices - to pay in full or get it as monthly payment. The problem is they put their over the top (maker?) prices on that device. And it is SIM locked to provider on top of that!

MNVOs are also offering phones included in the monthly bill but their prices are competitive and on par with online stores.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Still cheaper than British fees plus the insurance fees on every little machines. Also, brand new items come late in stores, which already gets old in Asia.

-4 ( +0 / -4 )

AU and Softbank said they already comply 8-) Hahah !!!

Can you go in their shop with your own phone and ask for a service modified to your needs?

I don't think so...

I ditched AU more than 3 years ago and made my wife do it although we had to pay cancellation money. In less than an year we were in black - paying less than 9000 yen for 4 devices. I prefer Android - great choices for 2 man (I order Xiaomi form Aliexpress) and family members direct Apple store older models are good price/quality ratio and SIM free!

2 ( +2 / -0 )

but the its slower and the voice quality sucks

The 4G and 4G+ coverage is excellent in Europe and voice quality is absolutely in par with what available in Japan. in fact I find Softbank quite lacking in that regard.

BS

Ah yeah? They do because I still have the contact type that they introduced years ago. That is, my calls are free if I call another Softbank user between 8am and 21 pm I believe, but charged ¥20 or something per 30 seconds for calls to another provider or outside the designated period. Same for SMS.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

I want Abe and Suga to explain why lower mobile phone prices are good, but deflation is bad. According to Abenomics everything will be better with inflation, so why is Abe trying to lower mobile phone fees?

If you spend Y100000 a year on your phone you are daft. One thing that I would like to see is the price of the handsets shown completely separately from the rest of the bill.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Australia: $40/month (roughly 3200 yen) includes 20GB data, unlimited local calling and texting, and unlimited calls to Japan and other countries.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I gave up my phone over 8 years ago - never regreted it and don't understand why they seem to be such a compulsory item, particulalry given the costs and negative social impacts they seem to have.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Shafting the people is Japan inc favorite money maker,

THIS    is one of the biggest problems of living in Japan, Japan Inc is ALLOWED by govt to shaft the entire country, collusion, price fixing is EVERYWHERE & is one of the reasons Japan is so expensive(that & also institutional corruption!)!!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

" mean here Softbank still charges me more when I call someone with a Docomo or AU phone"

BS

-6 ( +0 / -6 )

Europe you can get cheaper mobile plans with unlimited calls to anyone and anywhere including abroad,

but the its slower and the voice quality sucks

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

and western companies are any better??

Well yes, I don't know about US but in Europe you can get cheaper mobile plans with unlimited calls to anyone and anywhere including abroad, large data usage, no two-year contact, etc. For home internet too, it's way cheaper than the scam that Japan providers do here. You get often in one plan, unlimited internet at home plus landline phone with unlimited calls even for international communications..

I mean here Softbank still charges me more when I call someone with a Docomo or AU phone, this is ridiculous and this is simply called ripping people off.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

I think the problems did already clear up with MNVOs in play.

MNVOs without multiple physical stores don't have to deal with getting shops.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

 It would be good if the Cabinet also ordered the phone companies (like Apple) to reduce the prices of their handset. Over 10-man for a smartphone is too much. Most people dont know how expensive they are since they pay off over 24 months.

What are you talking about? You are again not understanding things. The government is not imposing anything here in terms of pricing, it is just trying to implement better competition so that there is the possibly of a larger set of choice among plans and therefore possibly some may be cheaper than others. Instead what we have now is a monopoly of carriers which all scam people with high prices. 

What you seem to confuse is that the competition in the handsets is already existing. You can choose among a very large set of handsets with a large range of prices. Apple sell different models with different prices and I don't the see how the hell a government can dictate a company how to price its products. I mean and I am sorry to tell you that but you really write non sense in most of your posts.

If you can't afford a phone, choose another one which is cheaper. You can't expect a government to dictate the price that companies charge for their products, this is free market unless you admit that Japan is a communist country. What it can do is making sure that there is enough competition in the market which again is the case for the handsets but not so far for the mobile plans. And this where Japan is bad, price fixing between companies in a market with little competition to charge customers more is a widespread practice here.

5 ( +6 / -1 )

Of course, a big problem is the cancellation fees and time restrictions on the auto-renewing contracts, and they should be eliminated.

Hear Hear!!!

5 ( +5 / -0 )

So they are restricting companies from offering services that people want.

If they want the prices to be lower, the only way to do that is to encourage competition. So perhaps they could work in that direction. I haven't looked but i am sure there are some kind of restrictions imposed on foreign firms, and domestic ones too. Get rid of those restrictions to encourage easy entry into the market and competition.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Precisely. A great Android sim-free phone can be bought for 3-4 man. Then a IIJ sim card will give plenty of data for 2000/month.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

Of course, a big problem is the cancellation fees and time restrictions on the auto-renewing contracts, and they should be eliminated.

I'm sure I read that these were going to be stopped, quite some time ago. Then again, it might have just been a government 'Recommendation'.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

I have an iPhone, iPad Mini and Softbank Air wifi at home. When I got my phone and iPad the contract included 24 monthly payments on the devices. However, after two years the payments didn't change, despite having paid for the devices. I approached them about this and the only answer I got was, "Yes, that is right. It is normal." I just thought to myself, it was typical 'money for nothing' corporate Japan and decided to live with it. A little over a year later I decided to get the Softbank Air home wifi. However, this time I took a Japanese woman with me, who is quite a strong woman. She got stuck into them about my fees not changing after the 24 months of payments for the devices. They did some calculations and reduced my bill by nearly ¥10,000 per month, which included an extra device - the Softbank Air. They had been ripping me off for over a year with 'money for nothing' payments. I told them I should get that money back. They just looked at me as if I was speaking a language from another planet.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

With such a plethora of cheap MVNOs out there I'd recommend ditching the big three. They'll still find ways to take 9,000 yen out of your pocket every month.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Actually, it shows how unimaginative most people are because most people use NTT, Softbank or Au, companies which have been ripping people off with high prices for years. Why don't they switch to MVNOs?

Of course, a big problem is the cancellation fees and time restrictions on the auto-renewing contracts, and they should be eliminated.

4 ( +5 / -1 )

Shafting the people is Japan inc favorite money maker, always had been. Good news but pathetic the government need to get involved.

7 ( +8 / -1 )

Excellent move by the Abe Cabinet. More cash in the pockets of consumers. It would be good if the Cabinet also ordered the phone companies (like Apple) to reduce the prices of their handset. Over 10-man for a smartphone is too much. Most people dont know how expensive they are since they pay off over 24 months.

-4 ( +2 / -6 )

Seriously the prices are ridiculously high in Japan. In Italy with 10€ / month I got a limitless calls and 30 gb data plan.

14 ( +14 / -0 )

There are cheap alternatives in Japan depending on your mobile phone surfing/usage. My household gets away with less than 30,000 a year in fees.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Let's hope the bill is tabled and passed and that us consumers receive the intended benefit.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

Good news, but then it says:

"The proposed bill....."

So, it hasn't been decided yet.

And even if those companies comply, the fees will still be pretty high compared with other countries.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

About damn time! And sad that it took the government to get involved before it happened!

9 ( +10 / -1 )

Good news.

11 ( +11 / -0 )

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