Saturday, June 14, 2014

Softbank new data plans include data roll over

As expected, Softbank Mobile announced new voice and data plans that directly match Docomo's pricing structure. Softbank's new plans are called Suma-hōudai, a play on smartphone and unlimited (as in tabehōudai). To add some semblance of differentiation, as opposed to just copying exactly what Docomo did, Softbank has added data roll over to their 5 GB and larger Suma-hōudai data plans.

Data Roll Over

Data rolls over in 100 MB increments and is valid for only one month. For example, if you have the 5 GB plan and consume 4,701 MB one particular month, 200 MB will roll over to the next month. (For simplicity, I am assuming that 5 GB is equal to 5,000 MB.) Your quota for the next month would be 5,200 MB. If you again used only 4,701 MB, then the original 200 MB would expire and (I think), another 200 MB would roll over.

I say that I think because that is logically how it should work, but the rules of logic never apply in these situations. Telcoms basically make stuff up as they go along.

Plan Pricing

Aside from the roll over data, everything else is exactly the same as Docomo.
  • Unlimited domestic calling (with 2-year contract):
    • Smartphone: ¥2,700
    • feature phone: ¥2,200
  • Data plans
    • Data Flat Pack 2: 2GB ¥3,500
    • Data Flat Pack 5: 5GB ¥5,000
    • Pack Flat Pack 10: 10GB ¥9,500
    • Pack Flat Pack 15: 15GB ¥12,500
    • Pack Flat Pack 20: 20GB ¥16,000
    • Pack Flat Pack 30: 30GB ¥22,500
  • Additional data: ¥1,000/1GB
  • Share option:
    • Smartphone: ¥500 + ISP fee
    • Tablet: ¥1,700 (newly-introduced bullsh!t base fee) + ¥500 + ISP fee
  • Data discount for multiple lines with 2-year contract:
    • 5GB Plan: -¥300
    • 10GB Plan: -¥1,000
    • 15GB Plan: -¥1,500
    • 20GB Plan: -¥2,000
    • 30GB Plan: -¥3,000

Beware of Data Plan Contracts

These discounts on the data plans are tricky and you should be careful when deciding to take them. As I've explained before, the 2-year contracts are traditionally applied to the voice plan. (Without the 2-year contract, you pay a stupid, ridiculous, unjustifiably high price for the base voice fee. In the case of the new Softbank unlimited voice plan, the monthly cost is ¥4,200 (!) if you don't add a two year contract.)

As long as you keep your line, you can change plans, get a new phone, do whatever you want to your contract, and you will not encounter the early termination fee (ETF). There are very few things that can trigger an ETF for the voice plan, and even if you get charged an ETF, because it is only about ¥10,000, it's still cheaper than paying for about half a year with no contract.

However, if you also add a contract on your data plan, the actions on your part that can trigger an ETF increase dramatically.

Imagine you share a 5 GB plan between a phone and a tablet. Then you get a new tablet that is wifi-only and you just tether to your phone. You no longer need the extra SIM card and you cancel it. There is a 96% chance that you will get hit with the ETF because there is only 1 month out of 24 that you can cancel the two-year, auto-renewing contract on your data plan.

So to save ¥300 each month, which only totals ¥7,200 in two years, by signing a contract to keep two SIM cards, you just got hit with a ¥10,000 fee. Not to mention that now have not just one, but TWO contracts THAT DO NOT NECESSARILY HAVE THE SAME START AND END DATES making it that much more difficult, confusing, and costly to cancel service entirely.

No comments:

Post a Comment