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MacRumors
Sep 22, 2011, 12:40 AM
http://images.macrumors.com/im/macrumorsthreadlogo.gif (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/22/kddi-to-break-softbanks-iphone-exclusivity-in-japan/)


http://images.macrumors.com/article-new/2011/09/KDDI_logo.png


Marketwatch reports (http://www.marketwatch.com/story/kddi-to-sell-iphone-5-in-blow-to-softbank-report-2011-09-22) that KDI Corp will be selling the next generation iPhone come October, likely alongside rival Softbank, who had enjoyed exclusivity up until now.In a blow for the Japanese cell phone carrier's rival, Apple and KDDI have already entered into a sales pact for the new phone, Nikkei Business said, citing sources close to the matter.KDDI will reportedly making preparations for the "iPhone 5" at its shops throughout the country around November.

According to an analyst quoted in the article, customers will welcome the expansion as "Softbank's telecommunications quality lags other carriers" in Japan.

Article Link: KDDI to Break Softbank's iPhone Exclusivity in Japan (http://www.macrumors.com/2011/09/22/kddi-to-break-softbanks-iphone-exclusivity-in-japan/)



DESNOS
Sep 22, 2011, 12:43 AM
万歳!

:d

beebler
Sep 22, 2011, 12:55 AM
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This is great. Ideally, they should get the iPhone on DoCoMo but KDDI/au has a bigger customer base and better reception than Softbank.

Until now, au has been pushing Android quite aggressively and just started advertising Windows mobile. An additional iPhone carrier in Japan is excelled; many Japanese want the iPhone but are not willing to deal with Softbank's reception quality.

pancakedrawer
Sep 22, 2011, 01:08 AM
Why is this Page 2 news but rumors about US phone carriers are front page worthy? MacRumors should treat itself like an international site and treat news from all countries equally. For example they should avoid terms such as Winter and Summer when referring to dates as in the southern hemisphere is the the opposite. Americanisation can make other users feel less appreciated and in some cases confused.

gikku
Sep 22, 2011, 01:28 AM
Softbank, being the old Vodafone certainly has coverage issues.
au has cdma quality stamped all over it.

CanuckInJapan
Sep 22, 2011, 01:30 AM
Here are a couple of articles I posted about this news in the iPhone 3GS thread (http://forums.macrumors.com/showpost.php?p=13387244&postcount=1416) earlier today.

English article on CNNgo (http://www.cnngo.com/tokyo/shop/finally-japans-iphone-users-get-choice-carrier-901585)
Original Japanese article on Nikkei Business (http://business.nikkeibp.co.jp/article/topics/20110921/222726/)

Also, KDDI has officially declined to comment on this news (unlike Nikon who officially denied a recent rumor about mirrorless cameras, then Nikon announced them a week later...).
According to CNET Japan (Japanese) (http://japan.cnet.com/mobile/35007912/):
「本件に関しては弊社から発表した内容ではないので何もコメントできない。報道で書かれていることについてもコメントのしようがない」
"As this announcement was not made by us (KDDI), we cannot comment. We do not plan to comment on stories in the press."

Article on Bloomberg: (http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-09-21/softbank-falls-most-in-two-years-on-report-kddi-to-offer-iphone.html)
Softbank Falls Most in Two Years on Report KDDI to Offer IPhone
Sept. 22 (Bloomberg) -- Softbank Corp., the sole iPhone seller in Japan, fell the most in almost three years after a magazine reported bigger rival KDDI Corp. will offer Apple Inc.’s newest version of the smartphone.

mijail
Sep 22, 2011, 02:30 AM
Why is this Page 2 news but rumors about US phone carriers are front page worthy? MacRumors should treat itself like an international site and treat news from all countries equally. For example they should avoid terms such as Winter and Summer when referring to dates as in the southern hemisphere is the the opposite.

Or they can make users feel like they are reading an USA-based website while being in other part of the world. Big deal.

(note that I am european and living in Europe)

Americanisation can make other users feel less appreciated and in some cases confused.

Since we're on the subject of political correctness, would you mind not confusing "America" with "USA"?

Soy Cowboy
Sep 22, 2011, 02:33 AM
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I've been with Softbank for about five years. Have had both the 3G and 4 through Softbank, and have had no problems. I could count the number of dropped calls I've had in the last five years on one hand. I don't know how the service lags.

japanime
Sep 22, 2011, 02:44 AM
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I've been with Softbank for about five years. Have had both the 3G and 4 through Softbank, and have had no problems. I could count the number of dropped calls I've had in the last five years on one hand. I don't know how the service lags.

Are you in Tokyo, or elsewhere? Here in Tokyo, I've found the iPhone on Softbank to be a huge disappointment. It was good at first (when I had the iPhone 3G), but the service has since gone into the toilet.

Can't say whether KDDI will be any better, though; I haven't used their service before.

Soy Cowboy
Sep 22, 2011, 02:51 AM
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I live in Nagoya. Sorry to hear about your experience. I had AU before Softbank and no difference for me. Don't know about Tokyo.

ufcchamp
Sep 22, 2011, 03:22 AM
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I live in the western part of Tokyo and the Softbank signal strength is definitely inferior to the other carriers. There are a lot of critical places in which I cannot get a signal (eg shopping malls). The service was worse when I traveled to Okinawa. The signal was weak or nonexistent for many of key attractions on the island. I heard that this is because the Government of Japan does not give Softbank access to a wide frequency bank that the other carriers enjoy. Either way, it sucks for us consumers.

nuxx
Sep 22, 2011, 03:44 AM
Good news if we're going to have more than one carrier in Japan.

I switched from au to Softbank in September 2010 solely to get the iPhone 4.

I've not had any real issues with Softbank's service, but there's no doubt I would have got an iPhone earlier if it had been offered on either au or DOCOMO.

pancakedrawer
Sep 22, 2011, 04:32 AM
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Why is this Page 2 news but rumors about US phone carriers are front page worthy? MacRumors should treat itself like an international site and treat news from all countries equally. For example they should avoid terms such as Winter and Summer when referring to dates as in the southern hemisphere is the the opposite.

Or they can make users feel like they are reading an USA-based website while being in other part of the world. Big deal.

(note that I am european and living in Europe)

Americanisation can make other users feel less appreciated and in some cases confused.

Since we're on the subject of political correctness, would you mind not confusing "America" with "USA"?

Americanization is the influence of the United States on the popular culture, technology, business practices, or political techniques of other countries. (Wikipedia)

Thus the use of the term Americanisation is not a confusion between America and USA which also annoys be.

To be honest I'm more just sick of hearing phone company speculation stories. I probably should just get over it and not read them. Just venting today I guess.

Soy Cowboy
Sep 22, 2011, 05:01 AM
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I live in Nagoya. Sorry to hear about your experience. I had AU before Softbank and no difference for me. Don't know about Tokyo.

jayducharme
Sep 22, 2011, 07:39 AM
Can someone comment on whether the iPhone has been a good revenue-producer for Softbank? Has it taken a lot of customers from other Japanese cell carriers as AT&T did in the U.S.? (Remember that AT&T suffered from the same coverage complaints as Softbank has, but even so the iPhone increased AT&T's customer base.)

wovel
Sep 22, 2011, 08:41 AM
Cool,

Remember when all the MR naysayers (and uninformed stereotypers) said the iPhone would be a complete failure in Japan because they had feature phones more advanced.

It's been a few years now, and they seem to be doing alright. Apple wa the #1 smartphone maker in Japan. I am sure this is still true today.

Good times,

beebler
Sep 22, 2011, 08:44 AM
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I've been with Softbank for about five years. Have had both the 3G and 4 through Softbank, and have had no problems. I could count the number of dropped calls I've had in the last five years on one hand. I don't know how the service lags.

Interesting about comments not seeing how Softbank's service lags. Lucky.

I'm in Fukuoka (where Softbank is based) and have traveled around Japan and see that I get weaker reception than those on DoCoMo and au. I haven't had dropped calls but my reception strength frequently goes dead (it's not a phone issue either, I've changed mine).

beebler
Sep 22, 2011, 08:50 AM
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Can someone comment on whether the iPhone has been a good revenue-producer for Softbank? Has it taken a lot of customers from other Japanese cell carriers as AT&T did in the U.S.? (Remember that AT&T suffered from the same coverage complaints as Softbank has, but even so the iPhone increased AT&T's customer base.)

I don't have concrete numbers but many are with Softbank just for the iPhone. The iPhone really took off in Japan with the iPhone 4, so people might be on contract for a bit more, preventing a huge au jump.

I'm not familiar with au's plans but Softbank's is unlimited data for a reasonable price. au would have to compete, it'd also be nice if they had visual voicemail, something Softbank doesn't have.

anjonjp
Sep 22, 2011, 10:00 AM
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I've been with Softbank for about five years. Have had both the 3G and 4 through Softbank, and have had no problems. I could count the number of dropped calls I've had in the last five years on one hand. I don't know how the service lags.

Try going camping or skiing or any other kind of activity in the mountains! For that matter, try making a call in Kagurazaka central Tokyo, just a stone's throw from the Imperial Palace and Softbank won't connect! :roll eyes:

accessoriesguy
Sep 22, 2011, 04:48 PM
THe more carriers the better for apple!

ChristianJapan
Sep 22, 2011, 05:17 PM
yes, finally Sorry for the big letters

SB is always the first signal which gets lost in country side and many restaurants build in ground or first subfloor. While the au phones would still have signals.

I see that very often on my iP4. For my 3G-iPad 2 I canceled the auto-renewal for the prepaid contract and got an Xi-mobile wifi router. That one at least switch back to FOMA when no LTE is around (still very often). But FOMA signals itself is more constant and mostly everywhere available; even Okinawa.

So that's really good news !!

Ah, and my wife is one of those who just extremely dislike SB; now I have the chance to pull her over from the Android-side to the shiny iPhone ecosystem.

CanuckInJapan
Sep 22, 2011, 08:04 PM
Can someone comment on whether the iPhone has been a good revenue-producer for Softbank?

NIKKEI.com - Softbank Beating Rivals With iPhone Revenue
- Friday, October 29, 2010
Softbank saw a net increase in subscribers of about 1.6 million in the six months through September, up 130% from the year-earlier period. That is much larger than the net increase of 810,000 for NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437) and 420,000 for KDDI Corp. (9433). [Cont.] (http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20101029D29HH283.htm)

http://e.nikkei.com/e/fr/tnks/Nni20101029D29HH283080228.gif

-----------------------------

Wall Street Journal - Softbank Profit Surges on iPhone Demand
- MAY 9, 2011, 7:33 A.M. ET
TOKYO—Softbank Corp. said Monday its net profit for the three months through March surged from a year earlier and it posted a record operating profit for the sixth-straight fiscal year.
Japan's third-largest mobile carrier by number of subscribers, whose business also includes Internet services, said that its net profit for the fiscal fourth quarter from January to March rose to ¥47.41 billion ($588.4 million) from ¥1.85 billion a year earlier. The previous year's profit figure was unusually small due to a special loss related to the carrier's shift away from its now-extinct 2G mobile phone service. [Cont.] (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703864204576312412570354984.html)
http://si.wsj.net/public/resources/images/AM-AN662_SOFTBA_NS_20110509033903.jpg

CanuckInJapan
Sep 22, 2011, 08:28 PM
I switched from au to Softbank in September 2010 solely to get the iPhone 4.
I've not had any real issues with Softbank's service, but there's no doubt I would have got an iPhone earlier if it had been offered on either au or DOCOMO.
I also switched from au to Softbank to get the iPhone 3GS in fall 2009.
Reception in Yokohama/Tokyo was usually spot on. However, since moving down to a rural area of Fukuoka (Kyushu) this spring, reception has been spotty. Antennae down here are fewer and farther between.
And as others have mentioned, once you get into the hills, you're incognito.
I've been up in the hills, stood next to a non-iPhone Softbank user who had full reception, and I got zero bars on the iPhone.
If au (with it's far greater coverage) can overcome this problem with the iPhone 5, I foresee many existing Softbank iPhone users switching to au, as well as existing au and docomo (Softbank rivals) users that held off until now as they were deterred by Softbank's coverage and reception problems.

This is what my reception often looks like. Even though it says "No Service" (where "Softbank" should display) I can still make and receive calls (while at home). Not exactly stellar service.

japanime
Sep 22, 2011, 10:51 PM
It should also be noted that Softbank throttles its 3G data-transfer speeds for ALL iPhone customers, not just the heaviest users. It's nearly impossible to stream video or use Skype over Softbank's crippled 3G network. Which is why I stopped using 3G altogether and keep my iPhone set to WiFi all the time.

And it's also not a secret, though you have to dig quite deep into Softbank's website to find the info:

http://mb.softbank.jp/en/price_plans/updst_note.html

Hopefully KDDI/AU will refrain from such sneaky tactics.

rider600
Sep 23, 2011, 11:01 AM
Most AU phones are still only CDMA, aren't they? If the iPhone 5 is definitely GSM compatible (so I can use it when I travel to countries that don't have CDMA), i'll change back to AU once my Softbank contract is up in 11 months.

Unless, of course, there are rumours of an iPhone 5S by then!

markie
Sep 23, 2011, 12:37 PM
The sucky thing for Japanese customers will be au is CDMA. CDMA sucks. No true conference calling, no simultaneous voice/data, slow speeds. Why not NTT DoCoMo?

plasticparadox
Sep 24, 2011, 07:46 PM
au has way better service (both customer & reception) than SoftBank. I also like the fact that you can opt out of automatic bank transfers and instead pay at the conbini with a slip, even with a 2 year contract.

But I've been using SoftBank for years now, and most of my friends are using SoftBank as well. I could never give up the White Plan.

markie
Sep 25, 2011, 12:30 AM
One thing I think it's important to realize is that the Japanese cell phone market is extremely backwards. More so than the United States even. Weird exclusivity deals, a complete inability for foreigners to purchase a cheap prepaid SIM (or just about anything for that matter!), and outrageous contracts.

plasticparadox
Sep 26, 2011, 03:20 AM
One thing I think it's important to realize

Why?

Not trying to be snarky, but I don't see how the fact that the Japanese market is different to what you personally are used to is relevant to the topic.

CanuckInJapan
Oct 2, 2011, 07:42 PM
RBBtoday.com (http://www.rbbtoday.com/article/2011/10/02/81601.html) has posted some pages photographed from the au October 2011 catalogue online.

http://www.rbbtoday.com/imgs/zoom/158032.jpg

This photo includes one line referring to the iPhone at the bottom right.
"iPhone users can look forward to using this from Friday, October 21, 2011."
(It appears that this is just a message indicating that the site is accessible to "non au" smartphones as well.)

What it's referring to is the use of a new 「関東おススメ!」 (Kanto Osusume!) service provided by au. This site features weather info and news etc. for the Kanto region and is already accessible on an iOS device (sp.55aukanto.com).
What makes it worthy of notice though, is that they specify the date 10/21/2011 to look forward to...

http://www.rbbtoday.com/imgs/zoom/158035.jpg

CanuckInJapan
Oct 4, 2011, 07:11 PM
It's official, the iPhone 4S will be sold by both Softbank, and au from October 14, 2011 in Japan.
http://ascii.jp/elem/000/000/640/640033/111005-0002_248x.jpg
Reuters has a short article in English: (http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/05/us-apple-japan-idUSTRE7937PU20111005)
(Reuters) - Japan's second-largest mobile carrier KDDI will sell Apple's new iPhone, the California-based company said, ending rival operator Softbank's highly profitable reign as the sole provider in Japan.
* * *
The move, reported earlier by Japanese media, comes after Apple opted for similar strategies in other markets, with Sprint becoming the third operator to offer the iPhone in the United States, after AT&T and Verizon.

Nishiko
Oct 5, 2011, 10:37 PM
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Can anyone comment on the difference between Softbank and AU in terms of data speeds? In the last day or so since the iPhone 4S announcement, I've seen news articles that AU's network is limited to 3Mbps down/1Mbps up for data. This seems rediculous to me, especially if the phone is capable is of 14 down/5 up (although I know that is the perfect "ideal"). I understand that AU has better cell reception than Softbank, and someone posted earlier in this thread that Softbank throttles iPhone data speeds anyway, but what are the average speeds to expect on Softbank now? I've heard that Softbank has committed to upgrading their network in the coming months, could this greatly improve things for the iPhone 4S?
I had AT&T in the US with my iPhone 4, and I was happy with their service, so guess I'm using that as my baseline for comparison.

I've just started living in Japan about 3 months ago, and I've been holding off on getting a cell until the new iPhone was released, but now I'm confused about which network to go with. Data speeds are definately the higher priority for me, but I still need to be able to make calls (also, I'm in Nagoya, so I know things could be different here than in Tokyo).
I would really appreciate any help/info, thanks.

CanuckInJapan
Oct 6, 2011, 09:47 PM
KDDI has posted a iPhone 4S page (http://www.au.kddi.com/iphone/index.html?bid=we_au_autop_0008) on their site (Japanese).
On the same page is a link to a PDF file (http://www.kddi.com/corporate/news_release/pdf/20111007.pdf) (Japanese) containing the iPhone 4S fee structure etc.
I have attached my own translation of the fee structure from Pg2 of the PDF file.
As you can see, the 16 GB iPhone 4S will be free.
This will definitely ramp up the competition, it will be interesting to see what Softbank's fees will be (announcing today).

Pg4 of the PDF file states that the monthly data fee is being dropped from 5,460 yen/mo. to 4,980 yen/mo. (for a max of 24 months).
The "IS Flat Phone Start Campaign" will be from Oct. 14, 2011 - Jan. 31, 2012.
(Refer to the PDF file for more details.)

- Cash-back campaign for those switching over from other carriers.
For new customers, they will receive a cash-back of 10,000 yen:
- Utilizing MNP for a new iPhone 4S
- Must apply for IS NET
- Must apply for the IS Flat Phone Start Campaign
- Must sign up between Oct. 14, 2011 - Jan. 31, 2012.
(Not clear as to what happens if you go for the 16GB iPhone 4S which is free to start with, receive 10,000 yen worth of products/services perhaps. And maybe it means that the 32GB will end up being essentially free for new users - also not clear.)

Wubby
Oct 6, 2011, 11:46 PM
Just a heads up before you jump to KDDI/AU if you care about data speeds at all:

KDDI/AU iPhones are limited to to a paltry 3Mbps down and 1.8Mbps up.

Softbank iPhones will get 14Mbps down and 6Mbps up.

http://mainichi.jp/select/biz/it/news/20111005mog00m020015000c.html

I placed my order for a 64GB black 4S with Softbank earlier this morning. Personally here in Shizuoka I've never had any reception issues in the last two and a half years with my 3G.

Edit: Also Softbank To Charge Lower iPhone 4S Monthly Fee Than KDDI

Only Y4,410!

http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111007-700069.html

CanuckInJapan
Oct 7, 2011, 01:54 AM
Following up on KDDI's iPhone 4S payment plan, Softbank has announced their payment plan, and incentive campaigns to convince existing 3G/3GS users to switch to the iPhone 4S.

Upon switching to the iPhone 4S, the remainder of your subsidized payments for the existing 3G/3GS will be discounted as a monthly cash-back option.
Campaign period is from Oct. 14 to Nov. 30 (iPhone 3GS or 3G customers only)
If I understand it correctly, it means Softbank will absolve you of paying the remainder of your 3G/3GS contract as long as you switch to the iPhone 4S (16GB), or the iPhone 4 (16GB/8GB).
Are-Kore-Sore upgrade campaign (http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/special/are_kore_sore/upgrade/) (Japanese)

Softbank's iPhone 4S (http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/iphone/) info is now online

199708
Oct 11, 2011, 04:18 AM
As the new 4s will be CDMA and GSM, will the GSM/Usim on teh AU phone be unlocked?

britishchris
Oct 11, 2011, 05:17 AM
As the new 4s will be CDMA and GSM, will the GSM/Usim on teh AU phone be unlocked?

I highly doubt it. AU wouldn't want to miss out on the lovely money maker that is international roaming charges!

CanuckInJapan
Oct 11, 2011, 07:28 PM
Just a heads up before you jump to KDDI/AU if you care about data speeds at all:
KDDI/AU iPhones are limited to to a paltry 3Mbps down and 1.8Mbps up.
Softbank iPhones will get 14Mbps down and 6Mbps up.

Softbank is indeed pushing their "superior" transfer speeds, but it seems that the reality does not live up to the hype.
Download (orange) and upload (yellow) speed tests were made using the following phones:
au (AQUOS PHONE IS11SH), docomo (GALAXY S II SC-02C), and SoftBank (iPhone4) on 3G lines (WiMAX at the right is much faster).
(Testing was between 8/22 - 29, 2011)

CanuckInJapan
Oct 15, 2011, 05:20 AM
This side-by-side network speed test of four Japanese iPhones (4 and 4S) comparing au (KDDI) and Softbank is getting a lot of attention (posted by Gizmodo Japan).

5sE4cbSwD_E

The speed test results were:
au (KDDI) - 1.68 Mbps and 1.26 Mbps
Softbank - 82.13 kbps and 88.3 kbps <-- note that is kbps, not Mbps
Softbank is pushing their network speeds, but it would appear the reality is just a tad different.

markie
Oct 21, 2011, 03:07 AM
I was not trying to be rude to anyone in Japan. There's things about Japanese culture I love (I'm actually a huge anime, manga, and Vocaloid fan!). Just pointing out to the Americans on here who think everywhere has it better than us, no, they don't. Japan, Canada, and Australia are a few major places that make American mobile pricing look affordable and competitive. And in Japan, things are SLOW (except on DoCoMo, which makes me wonder why on earth the iPhone isn't on DoCoMo?!?!?!?!?!)

japanime
Oct 21, 2011, 06:53 PM
EDIT: Sorry, double post. Didn't realize it was the same thread I'd posted to earlier!