Softbank Mobile 学割 student discount offers at 0 yen base charge

softbank mobile finally started offering student discount at zero yen for base charge with tiered pricing for packet usage (quite low compard with otherwise).

tiered pricing for packet usage

Quite an audacious move. They are achieving No.1 position net increase over the past 9 months in a row, ahead of docomo and au. I myself experienced the similar kind of dynamism of pricing when i was a pricing manager at one air express company in Japan. The pressure is there essentially when you already have a certain amount of revenue, just like docomo or au, accumulated over the long period of time, It’s just damn hard to compete on price, for especially the top management just can’t make a decision on revenue dilution.

softbank+mobile, white+gakuwari

It also adds a good customer segmentation scheme just by pricing.
people looking at softbank mobile phones with new

wifi “on the go” is not enough a conceptualization

Every morning at the Kikuna 菊名 station, where there is an ntt docomo wifi access point, I can not afford it because I am always busy commuting to the office. Every night at the same station, I try to get wifi but often the train arrives before getting the connection to it; so, I’d rather choose to jump in the train and head home than wifiing in the station.

After all, I started to ponder WIFI=”on the go” is a very difficult conceptualization. Getting wifi connection is not as fast as mobile phone messaging or mobile emails in this situation and, obviously, mobile phone does a far better job in messaging. Wifi “on the go” needs a few more adaptations before taking off.


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wifi in the lobby (or, no one but me is wifiing around here.)

Thanks for NTT docomo mzone so comfortable here. it only costs 350 yen or usd 3 or so a month if you have subscription with docomo mobile. extremely cheap compared to US counterparts – what is it ? T-zone 30 dollars a month?

You’d definitely need shozu which is very powerful in the wifi smartphone environment, would allow you to upload direct from mini sd card which is otherwise impossible without shozu.

BTW, Japan is a wifi paradise, in my opinion, thanks to Son san of softbank who has implemented whatever he believes.

The thing is it is not FON, docomo mzone, softbank mobile, google even, or any other wifi player that has extremely low awareness among conventional people. It is simply WIFI that’s not known until this day to the general public. Docomo mzone, softbank mobille, fon, google even and all the wifi providers should promote WIFI together to increase the awareness and to achieve the critical mass. Or,they all gonna fail.



wifi in the lobby, originally uploaded by kenjimori.

softbank mobile recorded No.1 net increase in May

softbank mobile recored No.1 net increase in May, originally uploaded by morikenstyle.

Found this ad in the JR train a few days ago. Softbank mobile claims its No.1 net increase in May with aggressive pricing plans including WhitePlan ($10 base charge for phone), Double WhitePlan (Tiered pricing on WhitePlan), Free calls between family members 24/7.

 

 

Update: They’ve achieved No.1 in the three consecutive months May, June, and July (the photo taken at softbank mobile store in Shibuya).  The ad claiming so makes sense, given relatively low brand image held in the eyes of mobile users in Japan, relative to competitors Docomo and AU.  They spend TV ad a lot too.  Not surprisingly, reportedly both docomo and AU reacted with basically cutting the base charge in half for the new subscriber. I’d anticipate exactly the same pricing war softbank played and won at FTTH/ADSL penetration pricing in years 2001 and onwards.
softbank mobile tops 3 months in a row 

Shozu for X01HT

One of the things that are really annoying using smartphone photo is that you have to move files to PC before uploading to flickr. Today I’ve found the very useful tool called ShoZu that enables direct photo upload to flickr from smartphone (my case, X01HT, softbank mobile, Japan) :

It also allows up/download videos so I think the concept akin to dave winer et al talking a while back. I’ve found that Om Malik also likes shozu.

uploading photo via ShoZu from X01HT to Flickr

In terms of communication cost, the flat rate packet transmission for mobile plan in Japan initially increases after certain point in one step: that is, let’s say, $10 for the first some packets and the charge would increase straight until another point then becomes flat onwards. To use less packets, I tend to use wifi (of course, FON at home and outside, free of charge) and softbank BB mobile at McDonalds (which costs only $ 2 to $3 or something a month). Otherwise, I am gonna have to pay the full flat rate of JPY 4,200 (USD 35 or so) for packet in addition to mobile phone voice bill, which I don’t think so cheap as a personal use.

update: if you are in Tokyo, I strongly recommend to use NTT docomo mzone services, which costs only JPY 350 or 3 dollars a month with no extra if you subscribe to ntt docomo mobile service (that is, you have to live in Japan). This wifi service is available in most subway stations, some major trains like Toyoko line’s, Narita xpress, Keikyu Line, some Moss burgers, Tully Coffee, etc and some hotel lounge (right here I am getting access in the lobby of Nikko Hotel Tokyo).

Google Japan offers mobile gmail

Here is annoucement from Google Japan in Japanese, I could not figure out that when I first read this.

But, according to Markezine (in Japanese), Google Japan now offers mobile Gmail; namely, Docomo, AU, and Softbank. Yes, Softbank, which is strongly affiliated with Yahoo Japan. I used to be afraid Google might be more integrated with AU; but glad to see they include docomo and rival softbank, even.

1. Get access to the Internet, in my (daughter’s) case, via docomo

(BTW, myself now use softbank, my wife and daughter are super loyal docomo users. I coundn’t convince them.)

2. Go to http://gmail.com then it will bring you to the login screen.
login mobile gmail jp

3. After login, the list of incoming emails.

mobile gmail japan jp looks

Softbank mobile X01HT promotes Yahoo as well as Google

IMAGE_080, originally uploaded by morikenstyle.

It is about neutrality. As long as it connects to the Internet via windows mobile 5.0 (this particular X01HT case), we get access to whatever the content we want to get access. Japan’s Softbank* mobile as a mobile carrier and a mobile terminal device provider ensures the Internet connection that includes Yahoo mail and Gmail. Even promotes Yahoo mail as well as Gmail in the softbank mobile in-store brochure. That’s quite fine. Then I was reminded of the CNET Japan article which published about a year and a half ago where softbank exec was preaching the open solution needed in mobile carrier/ content provider/ solution provider /distributor that collectively form the entire mobile (non-)ecosystem of Japan. (link)
note: *Softbank in effect operates Yahoo Japan, too.

THE SITUATION IS QUITE DIFFERENT WHEN YOU TAKE A LOOK AT “MOBILE” instead of THE INTERNET via win mobile 5.0:

But if you’d take a look at MOBILE (mobile-carrier’s net), Docomo, AU, and SOFTBANK all have their own sites, they are all silo and operate uniquely, unlike THE INTERNET. There seems little common ground. Yet, at one level, Google seems to try to make the mobile content searchable in one search box (BETA, the pic google box below in my daughter’s docomo).

google-in-docomo

But I heard Gmail now can be used only at AU’s under partnership agreement, but not at Docomo or Softbank, which I don’t think ideal so far. And I simply worry about the future of entire “MOBILE” (non-)ecosystem of Japan that could possibly collectively fall behind the global standards.

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FON, MYLO, X01HT at MIXI

おつかれさまでした (Congratulations)

fon night

あまり話を聞いてなかったが、昼間のプレスリリースと同じ内容だったと思います。

おつかれさまでした。(English: Congratulations! Though I was not really listening to the presentation since the place was so crowded, I suppose what he talked about was more or less the same with the press release made during the day time on the same 12/4.)

Here is from netafull, YouTube.

Best wishes,

Update: “FON” is ranked second as the popular keywords now (as of 11:16, 2006/12/05)
It moved up to the top as of 10:00am, 12/06, Japan time.

fontechnorati

Also the Blog TV video featuring Chigahara san of FON Japan, (in Japanese) aired the last Friday on Tokyo MX TV. (via blog tv official site)

MONTHS LATER: PODCAST cliraji featuring Chigahara san and Mashima san.

UPDATE: Fon community at mixi ミクシィのFONのコミュニティです  now reached 567 over the ten days, almost 4x of what it had prior to the launching campaign. キャンペーン開始前の約4倍、2006年年末時点でメンバーが750名を超えました。

Graph evolution of community at Mixi for FON, Mylo, and X01HT, updated 2007/01/21
FON, MYLO, X01HT

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See the spike right after the La Fonera free sampling campaign Dec 5-Dec 9

how the word-of-mouth catches up

Obviously Softbank mobile X01 HT is backed up by mass advertising (I mean, indirectly), while mylo and fon not backed up by mass advertising. H01 curve is steep, others’ more slow and gradual in mixi community size comparison. But hey they all surely catch up.
comparison_mixi

UPDATE: According to technorati.jp, “X01HT” is ranked as 3rd popular word, indicating the phenomena. I am also glad to know technorati.jp now has favorite tab, which has only been avalable in technorati.com (English).

UPDATE: FON increased significantly from 132 to 429 after the launching campaign on Dec 5, accompanied by La fonera giveaway for 5 days, Fon Night event in metropolitan Tokyo. It was covered by major media such as CNET Japan, IT Media (Online), World Business Satellite (News program, on channel 12, Network TV), Newspapers (which I haven’t confirmed the detail though).

comparison20061209

Graph updates here at flickr.

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