Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Softbank removes 1.2GB restriction from 4G LTE service

Softbank Mobile has made yet another reactionary change to terms of its 4G LTE service. First, after being flamed on twitter by disgruntled iPhone users who wanted tethering, Softbank Mobile added the option to their 4G LTE data plans with the same terms as KDDI: free for the the first 2 years with a 7 GB cap.

After that crisis was averted, it was noticed that the fine print on the non-tethering plans included an effective 1.2 GB/month cap that was omitted from even the fine print. This predictably didn't go well for them, especially after they got caught making a stealth edit to their FAQ.

Following this second flogging, SBM CEO Son has indicated that he had no intention of actually enforcing the cap, but as long as it was left in the contract, customers would have no recourse if their download speeds were throttled.

Softbank has now done away completely with the plan that included the 1.2 GB limit. The old plan was called Packet flat rate for 4G LTE (パケット定額 for 4G LTE) and is no longer available. People who signed up for it will be automatically moved to the new plan, Packet unlimited flat for 4G LTE (パケットし放題フラット for 4G LTE).

Here are the terms of the new plan:

With Tethering

  • ¥5,460 for 2 years then ¥5,985
  • 7GB monthly cap for 2 years, then 7.5GB
  • Throttling after using 1GB within 3 days.

Without Tethering

  • ¥5,460
  • Unlimited data
  • Throttling after using 1GB within 3 days.
The 3 day restriction is common in Japan and similar to what other carriers impose. The 1.2GB limit was specific to Softbank - no other carrier did that.


  1. CEO Son was very apologetic about it (1.2GB limit) on twitter.
    What I don't get though is the throttling of the speeds if you use more than 1GB within 3 days, even though there is a 7GB cap (for the tethering option).

    How long will your speed be throttled for if you used 1 GB in 3 days but overall only used 2GB?

  2. Just to clarify... you mean if you use 1GB over a period of 3 days, or if you use over 1GB, the throttling will be applied after (or during) 3 days?

  3. Yes, 1 GB over a 3 day period.

  4. Does the 7gb cap count for only tethered data? If I have the tethering option but don't use it often and pass 7gb on my phone will it be throttled regardless of not using the tethered connection?

  5. No. if you get the tethering plan, you will only be allowed 7 GB, whether you tether or not is irrelevant. 7GB is what Docomo and KDDI also do with LTE, so it is effectively the standard for Japan.

  6. Would love to see an entry comparing the speeds and contract terms of KDDI and Softbank side by side for the iPhone 5

  7. apparently your speed will be throttled forever after.... I went over last week and I still don't have regular speed back.....sigh.

  8. <ソフトバンクより>