Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Japanese carriers finally to allow exchange of SMS messages

Beginning Thursday 7/13, Japanese carriers will allow exchanging SMS with handsets on different networks. Here are links to press releases (J) for AU, Docomo, EmobileSBM. Okinawa Cellular is also included but I couldn't find a press release, aside from AU's.

Fees for SMS also appear to be dropping. For example, Docomo formerly charged ¥5.25 (¥7.25 with delivery confirmation) per SMS, but from 7/13, that price will drop to ¥3.15 (with or without confirmation).

Reportedly, AU (and presumably Okinawa Cellular) will also charge ¥3.15, while Emobile will charge ¥2.1. I haven't seen any word on what will be charged by SBM. Here it is, ¥3.15.

Personally, I only use SMS in the rare event that someone's Docomo handset blocks gmail as an anti-spam measure. Even then, I don't like to because the cost per SMS is just absurd.

Assuming one SMS consumes one packet (128 bytes), carriers are charging on order of 10 times what they would otherwise. (Docomo Mova packets are charged at ¥0.315/packet, FOMA packets range from ¥0.21 to ¥0.0525.) A 5 MB download, the average size of an iTunes MP3, at the cheapest data rate would run about ¥2,150 yen. At new and improved SMS rates, ¥129,024 yen. (Using the most expensive old rate, I calculate USD3000!)

This is obviously not a problem limited to Japan.

Check out this excellent interactive graph for packet price comparisons.

(via Juggly)


  1. Finally! It took Japan just 15-20 years to catch up on that. 

    It's also useful if someone didn't share his email address. But I agree that the Japanese mobile email system is generally much better than SMS in most other countries. Now that just need to lower the ridiculous prices for international SMS. I think it was 100 Yen on Softbank and 50 on Docomo, that's insane. 

  2. As Ken says, the only real benefit of this is to be able to send a message to someone whose mail address you didn't get. Which is quite a limited sphere of use, although single guys might like it...

  3. Ya, I no longer have address on my phone, You might know how it's hard in Japanese society... People usually ask me "what is your K-tai email?"  and took long time to explain how to reach me. Finally......

  4. can au kddi send international sms?

  5. No, but I read that they should have it sometime in March 2012.
    That's why au iPhone users don't have FaceTime and iMessage yet.

  6. love sms, love textMay 18, 2012 at 1:51 AM

    If loving someone is putting them in a straitjacket and kicking them down a flight of stairs, then yes, I have loved a few people.
    Love Sms Love Text

  7. Hi there, is there a way to send longer text than 160 chars (from SGS2). i have installed Go SMS and Handcent to allow longer text but still it's not working. thank you very much!