Softbank's discriminatory policy for iPhone 3G in Japan

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by Porcinet, Jul 7, 2008.

  1. Porcinet macrumors newbie

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    Japan
    #1
    iPhone in Japan will be offered by Softbank. According to several Softbank employees, the company will require foreigners to show their passport. A valid visa will be required, and the expiration date should be more than 12 months later (for a 12 months contract) or 24 months later (for a 24 months contract), otherwise immediate payment of the unsubsidized price of iPhone will be required (instead of monthly installments).
    This is clearly a discriminatory and illegal policy. To my understanding, only institutions authorized by the Ministry of Justice (Police, Customs,...) are allowed to ask for your passport. Softbank should not be able to discriminate on the basis of your current citizenship.
    This is especially ridiculous, knowing that many foreigners in Japan are granted renewable one year visa. The only explanation given by Softbank employees is that foreigners could flee the country before their contract expires. Well, nothing would stop a Japanese national to also flee abroad, nor would it be impossible for a foreigner with a 5 years visa to flee...
     
  2. greenmymac macrumors 6502a

    greenmymac

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    #2
    WElcome to the joys of government!
     
  3. aforty macrumors 65816

    aforty

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    #3
    Hmm that sucks. I'm assuming Softbank has an exclusive on the iPhone or does ToCoMo get any play?
     
  4. t0mat0 macrumors 603

    t0mat0

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    #4
    Isn't the Apple stores in the U.S. needing to see ID too? It's not like an ID check isn't normal for an iPhone sale - What do you think a credit check is? It's a check of your identity *and* your credit...
     
  5. Porcinet thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #5
    t0mat0, this isn't only a matter of checking your ID, otherwise a "gaijin card" or a driving licence would be perfectly acceptable.
    Softbank is going to check your visa in your passport, which is officially illegal (even in Japan).
    And as I wrote, it is clearly stupid since it does not prevent anything and does not make sense. It is just showing the state of mind of Softbank management...
     
  6. theotherrogue macrumors regular

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    Jul 5, 2008
    #6
    I can't say I really blame them for wanting to stop a foreign visitor from buying a subsidized iPhone so they can export it with them, but that sucks if your stuck in an honest predicament.
     
  7. skubish macrumors 68030

    skubish

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    Location:
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    #7
    I am pretty sure this is required in order to get any cell phone in Japan. You can't even get a prepaid one without a passport and a VISA (not temp. visitor). The reason I say this is because I travel to Japan frequently on business and I had to get one of the local staff get me a prepaid phone. Its nice that in Japan incoming calls are free.
     
  8. Chrisrokc macrumors regular

    Joined:
    May 19, 2008
    #8
    Most cell phones and cell phone plans bought today (prepaid and non) require ID, SSN, and if your from out of the country I don't see why they would not ask from a passport or visa. Why?

    A. The federal government likes to keep tags on phone lines and have them linked to a name incase they gather intel that is bad.

    B. What if you ran out on the bill?
     
  9. vandozza macrumors 6502a

    vandozza

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    Jun 14, 2006
    Location:
    Australia
    #9
    so you pay for incoming calls in the USA?
    if that's the case I didn't realise that.

    in Australia we don't pay for incoming either.
     
  10. Porcinet thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Japan
    #10
    I never showed my passport when establishing my phone contract a few years ago (with AU). Of course, I had to show valid ID ("gaijin card" or japanese driving licence, if you got one, are acceptable).
    For people with permanent residency (supposedly the equivalent of green card holders), it might not help them feel comfortable in the country...

    Simple answer: because it is illegal.
    They can ask you to provide the proof you are currently staying legally in the country, but they cannot check your visa status.

    You need to remember that many visa in Japan are granted for short term (1 year), but are renewed as long as you have a job. Having a visa expiration date doesn't mean you're going to leave the country immediately.
    I have a 5 years visa (expiring next year), because I work in the scientific research field. I am allowed to work only in the research field (it is written on my visa: "Designated activities"). It will be renewed if I decide to continue working there and if my contract is renewed.
    I have a stable income and I don't feel I am more a risk for companies than many Japanese citizens (who could stop paying or leave the country as easily as me).

    I'm always amazed that people seem to accept discriminatory policy or racist speeches in Japan (even from high ranking officials, like the governor of Tokyo Ishihara who says that in case of earthquake, the "3rd world people" could try to take advantage of the situation, or that Black people in Roppongi are stupid, or the former minister of Justice, paraphrasing nazi officials "Japan is one country, one people, one race")... while they would not accept this from their own countries.
    Imagine a mayor from a capital city in Europe saying that "Black people are stupid" or that "Women after menopause should not live, because they are not useful anymore"... Imagine this mayor being reelected (with more than 70% of the vote) after saying that! disgusting!
    Japan is a nice country, but you have to accept that a significant part of the establishment is openly racist.
     
  11. TXCraig macrumors 6502a

    TXCraig

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    Houston, TX
    #11
    The odds are higher a foreigner is more likely to get the phone on contract and leave town. In the US, no Social Security Number, no phone! So at least they are given foreigners a chance!

    I would imagine if they took the amount they subsidize the phone as a deposit and returned it to you in 24 months.. would that make you happy?
     
  12. Porcinet thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #12
    In the US, if you are a legal foreign resident, you will be given a SSN. So you will be able to start a contract.
    I don't think ATT is checking on your passport to know how many months left are on your visa... because they wouldn't be able to do so.
     
  13. Porcinet thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #13
    It looks like they now require 27 months remaining on your visa... which basically most foreigners don't have.
     
  14. Porcinet thread starter macrumors newbie

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    #14
    Let's try to be positive.
    If you are asked you passport in addition to your gaijin card, try to show instead another ID:
    - Japanese driver's licence
    - Health insurance card
    - ...
    If they keep asking for your passport, try to tell them politely that you don't have your passport and that anyway it is illegal (パスポートを提出よう要求することは不法である) for them to ask for it.
     
  15. butterfly0fdoom macrumors 6502a

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    #15
    Well, as a foreigner in Taiwan, my Visa needed to be inspected by the cellular phone company (I went to two different companies, too) for me to be able to get a SIM card (I was getting a prepaid card, so I don't know if Taiwanese cellphone carriers have expiration date requirements); I don't see what's wrong with Softbank making sure you're not buying the phone and then leaving the country before your contract is up.
     
  16. lavrishevo macrumors 68000

    lavrishevo

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    Location:
    NJ
    #16
    When they deny you sue the crap out if them. This type of stuff is when lawsuits are the way to go and most likely they will not change until someone puts a hole in their bottom line. I deal with similar stupidity living in Puerto Rico now after spending all my life in the continental U.S. If it is truly illegal then make an example out of them.
     
  17. CaptainHaddock macrumors 6502

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    Nagoya, Japan
    #17
    If you speak Japanese and show them your alien registration card, that should be enough. The card actually includes more details about your status in Japan than your passport, including your place of work and your visa renewal date.

    I hated the hassle when I originally got my Softbank phone, but they only wanted assurances I was in the country for at least another 6 months. It's hard to blame them — a lot of Japanese businesses have had pretty bad experiences with foreigners who just leave without finishing out their contracts, and in some cases, without any warning at all.
     
  18. pepto macrumors member

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    Aug 13, 2007
    #18
    I don't think that anyone sues here in Japan.
    It's definitely a lot different to the US.

    I have 13 months left on my visa and when I went to ask about getting a 12 month contract, they said that it would be ok but I would only get the 1920 yen discount for each of the 12 months (as apposed to 24 times if I had a 2 year contract).

    This adds up to me having to pay 23040 yen extra for the phone.

    I may well be leaving Japan next year anyways, so if softbank don't want to reward me for my 4 years of business, maybe I will go elsewhere and postpone my iphone purchase until I get back home.
     
  19. Noonzio macrumors member

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    Jan 24, 2007
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    #19
    So this will apply even for existing customers? I have been a Softbank (nee Vodafone) customer since September 2005 . . will they expect me to show my passport, alien registration card and other documentation, just to get a new phone and extend my contract?? If so, that is absolutely ridiculous . . and means I won't be getting an iPhone!!
     
  20. Noonzio macrumors member

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    Jan 24, 2007
    Location:
    Dublin, Ireland
    #20
    More importantly, my phone is paid for by firm, with my business credit card . . my firm don't have a passport or an alien registration card or a visa . . what the hell am I meant to do then!!!
     
  21. Porcinet thread starter macrumors newbie

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    Sep 28, 2007
    Location:
    Japan
    #21
    I don't think they would cause you much problem if you are already a Softbank customer.

    However, I visited Softbank website this morning and they clearly indicate the obligation to show your passport. I'm kind of surprised they didn't check with their own legal department, since it opens door for lawsuits from any customer who would be refused service on this basis.
    Legal awareness is the best friend of a well managed company in a competitive business environment.

    I clearly plan to show them my driving licence and my ID card, and see what's happening. I still have 12 months remaining on my visa, but it's more a question of principles than of money.
     
  22. Sirus2400 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2008
    #22
    Fyi

    Softbank Sets iPhone 3G Prices Higher For Existing Customers

    TOKYO (Nikkei)--Reflecting its strategy of actively courting new customers, Softbank Mobile Corp. will sell Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G smart phone at more favorable prices than those offered to existing customers looking to switch handsets.

    The Softbank Corp. (9984) cellular phone service unit plans to sell the 8-gigabyte model of the iPhone 3G to existing customers for 30,240 yen, about 31% higher than the 23,040 that new customers are expected to pay for the same handset. For the 16GB model, the price for existing customers has been set at 41,760 yen, roughly 21% more than the 34,560 yen new customers will pay.

    Many existing customers will also have to cover higher charges if they switch to an iPhone 3G handset because they will lose their entitlement to discount fee plans.

    From Nikkei
     
  23. Shad0w59 macrumors member

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    Jun 24, 2008
  24. MojoWill macrumors 6502

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    Jun 13, 2008
    #24
    the only people that are ever bothered by showing ID/passport etc are those who have something to hide!
     
  25. Sirus2400 macrumors regular

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    Jun 25, 2008
    #25
    Yeah, I don't think the passport thing is that much of an inconvenience. (Maybe the frustration is just building living in a country where you are pretty often treated as a second class citizen even if you are working a respectable job).

    Checking your visa is a bit much though, I will be here for a few years at least but have to renew my visa annually. They could just as easily ask for a credit card so in the case that you ran off without paying the 24 installments for the phone, they could charge you the difference on your card.
     

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