Thursday, July 15, 2010

Softbank begins properly displaying current monthly data charges

According to general_k, a new member at XDA forums, Softbank has recently changed the way current monthly charges are displayed on the My Softbank site. Previously, the site displayed current usage fees prior to the application of any discounts, which resulted in a number of panicked posts to the definitive smartphone on Softbank thread.

Now the actual cost to be paid by the customer is apparently displayed - I say apparently because I am still a bit confused by the information.

In the above screenshot, one day of usage of the iPhone data plan is shown, resulting in ¥744 worth of packet charges (9,300 packets). At this rate, the maximum price for this particular data plan (¥4,410) would be reached in about a week. Previously, the site would continue to show charges increasing above the cap, which would reach around ¥20,000 by the end of the month.

The individual packet charges are subtracted, leaving only the charge for the flat rate plan displayed (¥4,200 * 5% tax = ¥4,410). However, this person has only used 9,300 packets, which should result in current charges of ¥980, the minimum (excluding tax), which doesn't matter because this user is subscribed to a new plan that charges the maximum, regardless of actual packet usage, in exchange for an additional ¥480 discount [See comments]. The original iPhone data plan scales linearly after 12,250 packets to the maximum, which is reached at 71,250 packets.

Here is another shot from a different user illustrating the same thing. Also, notice the flat rate price for the previous month seems to be prorated, which also doesn't make sense since the user consumed well over 71,250 packets.

The below screenshot provided by an admittedly heavy users shows one day of ridiculous usage under Softbank's old way of displaying current charges.

Someone who followed all the directions properly and just slid an iPhone or other Softbank SIM card into their overseas smartphone would be right to panic when seeing this information - especially if they were not so comfortable reading Japanese and didn't notice the fine print (not shown) saying this is the price prior to any discounts.


  1. Indeed, that doesn't make any sense yet. Maybe there will be a change in the data rate plans soon?
    Anyway, this brings us a little closer to using foreign country imported smartphones with Softbank, as long as one would give his MySoftBank page a regular (daily?) check.

    BTW, is that only me or do all Softbank users irregularly receive calls lasting only half a second with witheld numbers? Is it from Softbank checking something? Anybody any idea?

  2. From my understanding, there are actually multiple plans for iPhone.

    The Japanese softbank site lists 3 plans for iPhone:

    The first two have min and max charges. Eg, Standard plan is 1029-4410 yen
    The last one has a flat charge of 4410yen - even if you use less data, you always pay 4410 yen.

    The English Softbank site lists two plans:

    The first of these is 1029-4410, the second is fixed 4410.

    As well as the variable/fixed different, you get a different "discount" per month. 1920 for the fixed plan, 1440 for the variable plan (based on iPhone 4, it's less for iPhone 3GS). Therefore if you're willing to fix at 4410yen per month, you get an additional 480yen per month discount.

    It's ridiculous, quite frankly. Not only is the information inconsistent between English and Japanese (# of plans, plan names), but is there anyone that uses less than 4410 yen of packets per month? My last bill was 634,865 yen in packets, and that's only with mail and some occasional Mocha VNC.

    Most people don't know which plan they are on.

    > Someone who followed all the directions properly and just slid an iPhone or other Softbank SIM card into their overseas smartphone would be right to panic when seeing this information

    Erm, they would be right to panic anyway, because if you put a Softbank SIM into an overseas smartphone and Softbank detects you've done it, you don't get any discount.

  3. I didn't understand that pro-rating was possible, though I did get Softbank to give me the Iphone 4 at the beginning of my new billing cycle.

    I think your concern about the automatic 4200円 and not increasing linearly from the minimum pretax 980円 value can be assuaged by the new pricing option with the iphone. You can agree to pay the max 4410 every month independent of the usage and get extra 480 yen discount. Or you get can use the linear increasing plan (same as old iphone plan) and not get the bigger discount. The discount is tied to the amount for the phone. I can see that I locked myself into the maximum for every month for two year contract, but I was pretty sure I was going to do that anyway.
    The following url shows the two plans for iphone 4 packet plan.

  4. general_k, welcome.

    Yeah, I see now that is what you did, thanks to breaking art's comment. Thanks again for the screenshot.

  5. No problem. I was in a situation where I am sure softbank new what I was doing, they even said they were going to study the situation and call me back about a week later. After I realized I had made the mistake, using both opensoftbank and smile_world randomly from black iphone sim card in G1 I started reading the horror stories about people having to pay too much. The feeling I got was that telling the truth cost some people a lot of money. Ultimately I created some story about using UK version of itunes and then fixing everything with japanese version of itunes. My lack of providing a direct affirmative answer saved me about 300000円.
    So yeah they even suck at getting all their money.