Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Softbank "4G" campaign pricing to be applied indefinitely

According to a press release, if you sign up for a Softbank "4G" unlimited flat (4Gデータし放題フラット) plan by 4/30/2012, an up to ¥2,000 discount will be applied indefinitely. NTT Docomo is also offering a similar discount to customers who sign up for it's Xi LTE service by May, but unlike SBM, monthly service fees will increase to the standard ¥5,985, which is also the standard price of SBM "4G" unlimited flat.

However, unlike Xi, SBM's "4G" service is currently available only as a mobile wifi router. No phones are available. Compatible phones will certainly be released, but don't expect any until after this current campaign ends.

The standard discount is ¥1,000. Owners of SBM smartphones and tablets (excluding "X" series phones) may apply for an additional ¥1,000 discount, if they have one of the following data plans.
  • パケットし放題フラット
  • (iPad専用)データ定額プラン
  • パケットし放題フラット for スマートフォン
  • パケットし放題MAX for スマートフォン
The most attractive use of this plan would be as a replacement for traditional home internet service. In fact, NTT East (preemptively?) announced yesterday that an up to ¥800 discount is coming for residential users of it's Flet's Hikari fiber optic internet service, citing increased competition from mobile carriers. (I have no other details than what I saw on NHK in the morning.)

HOWEVER, from the end of October, similar to Xi, Softbank "4G" unlimited becomes UNLIMTED*: After 5 GB of usage, speed will be throttled to 128 kbps. Additional bandwidth will be available at ¥2,625 per each additional 2 GB. NTT Docomo will implement a similar plan with Xi, but the throttling is to begin from 7 GB.

NOTE: I always put the terms "4G" in quotes (or add an asterisk) to indicate that none of the networks purporting to be 4G actually are. The same often goes for term "unlimited," as in this post


  1. With the data limits, it becomes a no-good for home use. With online video programming I guess that I will be using more than 5gb in a single day.

    But definitely worth a look for people who only need email, sns, occasional video and voip.

  2. This almost had me enticed to replace my POS JCOM but I can burn 4GB of data in one day depending on what I am doing. Heck I was pulling an ISO larger than 4GB across the line just the other day.

  3. For you who often needs to download large ISOs (presumably with bit torrent), the high latency of a cellular connection (assume you'll average about 100 ms) could be an issue as you open and close lots of simultaneous connections. I haven't checked but I am pretty sure p2p is prohibited by TOS.

  4. It depends on the source I am downloading from, if it is from Microsoft or Symantec's licensing site it would be HTTP traffic but if it is Ubuntu or some other FOSS project bit torrent is faster. Some times I decide I need a backup from my home server when I am at the office so there is a few hundred MB going across the line right there. When I kept track of my data usage I was surprised at how much data I use.

  5. Yeah, obviously those guys are going to have the bandwidth to serve. Even if there was no limit, this would be for the casual home user, not for someone like you. No way.

  6. So that is a monthly limit? Just checked my torrent logs and found out that the last 30 days (during which I have toned down my usage) I have averaged 6 GB in and 14 GB out daily. And of course I have the normal daily usage with some additional heavy ftp stuff on top of that.

    I would still consider this mobile router as a replacement for the data plans on my phone, laptop and iPad but seems you are eligible for the discount only if you still continue to use at least one of these too?

  7. Yes, monthly. You'd need to keep a contract on the iPhone or the iPad.

  8. Hi SBS!
    seems like there is a new Bmobile data plan! . My japanese is not that great but... is it like 1gb for 3780 yen... one payment untill using all the data? waiting for your review!! ^_*

  9. I know.


    Will try and find time to write it up.

  10. Interesting. eMobile will throttle you once you exceed 366MB in a day, but they will only throttle you during peak hours between 21:00 and 2:00 of that day, and the throttled speed is still several megabits.