tech

Softbank boosting efforts to shore up sales of Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G

22 Comments

Softbank Mobile Corp. is boosting its efforts to shore up sales of Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G just one month after the handset's strong Japanese debut.

Initially, annual iPhone 3G sales were projected to top one million units, but now many forecast the sales will reach slightly over 100,000 units, an industry source said.

Softbank Mobile, the handset's only seller in Japan, has revised its pricing of data communication fees for iPhone 3G users to a monthly range of 1,695 yen to 5,985 yen, depending on data usage, from an initial flat rate of 5,985 yen.

Masayoshi Son, president of Softbank Mobile and its parent, Softbank Corp. <9984>, said earlier this month he wanted to put iPhone in the hands of people who did not buy it due to its high price.

Before the new fee plan, the mobile carrier failed to attract customers who mainly use their handsets for e-mails and phone calls.

Michito Kimura, senior analyst at market research firm IDC Japan, says iPhone sales are unlikely to rise sharply.

But there is a view that the iPhone has immeasurable growth potential because users can customize it as much as they wish by downloading software they like.

An official at a major telecommunications company says that a big software hit such as a game might help iPhone turn around its fortunes in Japan.

© JCN

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

22 Comments
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can I ? can I? Be the first to say I told you so?

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Why don't they remove the restriction to foreigners without 27 months free on their visas not having to buy the phone outright for 80,000yen.

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Just give me a flat fee say 5,000 a month for whatever I want to do, national calls, internet, mail anything (of course overseas is extra) and then watch the people flock back to softbank.

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Why don't they remove the restriction to foreigners without 27 months free on their visas not having to buy the phone outright for 80,000yen.

That would help a lot of people who wants to buy, but also a number of would-be scammers. The real reason, I believe is how the iPhone is so different compared to typical Japanese keitai.

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I don't have 27 months remaining on my visa and had no trouble getting one apart from a one hour wait in Harajuku last Thursday.

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If you have more than 24 months left on your visa, you can pay in 24 times. If you have less than 24 months left on your visa, you can pay in 12 times. If you have less than 12 months on your visa, you have to pay the whole 8x'yz5 yen. If you ask for a new phone and they don't have any in stock, you have to wait for an indefinite amount of time. Why Japanese people don't buy it:

big for a small hand everybody owns already an iPod no strap no ugly icons in sky-mail (or whaterever it is)
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Y80,000 for a new toy?

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Y80,000 for a new toy? My car cost me Y70,000! And I can't seem to kill it no matter how I try, and I want to some days!

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Some comments to this article which give absolutely uncorrect informationand answers to some posts:

Regarding sales of iPhone 3G in Japan : the correct data is : on 391 500 new mobile phone subscribers in July, Softbank got 215 400 new subscription, which means 50% of all market !!!! For more details, read this : http://www.appleinsider.com/articles/08/08/11/iphone_3g_rocks_japanese_smartphone_market.html Regarding visa and subscription with iPhone : if you are already Softbank subscriber (maybe also if you're switcher, but I can't confirm) and that your payment is done by credit card, YOU DON'T NEED ANY SPECIFIC VISA DURATION (except you can't be "tourist visa"). My visa expires in Sept (and I only starts renewal procedure after I took my iPhone), and I was able to take my iPhone 3G 2 weeks ago, with a 24 months contract regardless of this fact !!!! I don't know why such rumors regarding the visa are going on the internet... Also, it would be "normal" that Softbank "protects" itself ungainst people who would buy in iPhone on 24 months contract and live Japan soon after, regarding that the payment of the iphone itself is divided on 24 months... As for information, notice that you can buy the Iphone at his "full price" (around 90 000 yens) at Softbank Shop and then you'll get a discount of about 1900 yens per month on your total bill during 24 months (so the cost would remain the same than if you purchase it with a 24 month instalment payment).... Martin
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"I don't know why such rumors regarding the visa are going on the internet"

Not a rumor. That's what people at Softbank explained to me. Having J-Phone,Vodafone,Softbank provider since years, beeing a regular employee since years, having a credit card didn't change anything. I have 22 months left on my visa. Just bad luck then...

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I don't suppose Softbank have considered the number of existing customers, like me, who intend to buy the iPhone but are tied into 2-year contracts with our existing phones...? They were foolish to expect crowds to run out and snap up the latest gadget when they themselves set out the 2-year discount plan! I will buy one, but softbank will just have to wait until next spring, and the way things are going now, I'll be getting a much better deal for the wait.

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Yeah the handset price is around 80,000, but then again, more than half the other handsets on display in the Shibs Softbank shop were MORE EXPENSIVE when I checked, going by the ultimate handset price shown. All those Viera and fancy-featured Japan-only keitai are coming in at 85,000 and 92,000 and even more. Nobody seems to mention this in these articles.

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I said that it wouldn't sell well because the youths that would make it popular can't use it. ie) girls with long fingernails can't use the touch screen. I also said that many people without technical abilities would find it intimidating (even though we find it easy to use). I also asked what features (other than gimmicks) does it have that other japanese keitai don't have? Perhaps faster internet, but that is about it.

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Regarding sales of iPhone 3G in Japan : the correct data is : on 391 500 new mobile phone subscribers in July, Softbank got 215 400 new subscription, which means 50% of all market !!!!

I believe that Appleinsider article is misleading because it is missing some important pieces of information. If you go to the original Tech-On article http://techon.nikkeibp.co.jp/english/NEWS_EN/20080808/156265/, those numbers (391,500 and 215,400) are year-over-year numbers from July 2007-2008 and not for just the month of July 2008.

The article also says near the bottom that SoftBank added 52,000 new subscribers. That number is the gain from the iPhone 3G in July 2008. KDDI's numbers for July 2008 was flat at 17,000 new customers so yes, if you look at it from that perspective, the iPhone 3G had a huge impact on KDDI. The number of actual units sold however is not impressive at just 52,000. This is why this article says they now expect sales to reach just a little over 100,000 units instead of the original 1 million because now that the initial demand is over, SoftBank is way below the rate needed to achieve that original goal unless sales pickup drastically.

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Softbank needs to realise that people are not stupid! Charging ¥315 per month for S!Mail, when the iPhone can't even use it, is nothing but a complete and utter ripoff. And when you consider the thousands and thousands of customers that are paying for it, that's a tidy little pocket warmer!

Softbank should offer the iPhone as a regular phone, just like they do any other phone. They should NOT be asking for $800 for a phone that JOBS himself informed the world is only $299 or less!

I will NEVER buy a damn thing from Softbank. They made me feel most unwelcome with their xenophobic treatment and mistrust! I have a perfect credit rating here in Japan and have NEVER been refused something on credit in nine years, nor have I been told that if I pay $800 upfront "We'll trust ya!"

As for KDDI - big mistake to go to them in the first place, but that won't be a problem after October!

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Anyone hacked it yet to make sure it works on the AU/KDDI network? Softbank sucks for service unless you are in the middle of Tokyo. Every time I talk with someone who has a Softbank junk phone, it sounds like they are in the bathroom. Softbank should be avoided. Eternally #3

As for paying 80,000 yen. Just order it from the US or the UK. Let the Japanese people pay the crazy amount for a simple phone.

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You cant hack it for another 3g carrier in japan because they lock there sims. You might be able to use one of those piggyback Sims but I think your stuck because of the sim. You can also go to the app store and download a lot of stuff even if your in japan.

Another thing you can do is get a copy of pownage and jailbreak it and load all the popular third party apps. There are nes, psp2, and some Xbox emulators with the games you can load on the phone.

I have the original and have hacked it myself out of the box. I haven't upgraded to the 2.0 software because there is nothing newer than 1.1.4 for apps except for the old apps being ported for the 3g.

If someone was smart they would open a website and take 500 to a 1000 yen and show the people that have them how to upgrade and install apps.

And yes you can install a third party MMS app.

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I believe that the only thing holding people back from buying the iPhone here is that they know Softbank service is poor and would never do business with them. If any other service provider were the reseller, the iPhone would be my next phone upgrade. Apple made a big mistake in going with Softbank.

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I have an old-model cell phone with the only function besides calling being e-mail. Why would I need an iPhone with all the worthless add-ons?

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these new smartphones have Internet programs for weather, stocks, full keyboards etc. This reply is from my iPhone. Still I think $800 is a scam. $199 is a good deal though especially with a few apps.

-I barely ever use my computer now. The phone is easier.

Safari (Apple Web browser) doesn't work well with all Internet sites and doesn't natively support flash = certain web stores and pull down menus won't work.

I would honestly wait another year. <$199, many of these smart phones are $100 or even free (with subscription) in the US. Only the big cities have the 3g networks also.

The speaker is at the bottom so you need to invert the phone when using it as a phone. Touch keyboard takes some time to get used to. Speaker not really that loud for city use. My AT+t cell connection at home is crap (can't really use the iPhone Internet there), on the road the connections have generally been good.

Wifi use at home is great on the road it seldom is.

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there are Safari apps and true apps for the iPhone. Alot of them are free, but don't confuse the two.

A web app must go thru a website, where the true app is installed on the phone.

Take a look at all the apps before thinking about one of these smartphones.

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it isn't $800 anymore - at least for the 8gb - it's free and the max monthly is 4410.

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