SoftBank now giving away iPhones in Japan

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
In a bid to possibly clear inventory, combat slumping sales, or both, SoftBank Mobile's new "iPhone for Everybody Campaign" is offering customers in Japan a free iPhone 3G with a two-year contract through May.



Announced on the Japanese carrier's website, the promotion offers significant savings for customers interested in upgrading to the iPhone in Japan. The 8GB version of Apple's popular smartphone is now free (original release, translated) with a two-year contract that can be tied to one of three promotional plans including basic, premium, or student. The 16GB iPhone, meanwhile, isn't paid for in full up front. Rather, it costs 480 yen per month ($4.96 in U.S. dollars) for a total price over the two-year contract of ¥ 11,520 ($119.11).



SoftBank is adding even further incentive for customers to buy. The company's typical data plan is being discounted from the normal ¥ 5985 per month to a maximum of ¥ 4410. In U.S. dollars, that's a cut from $61.88 to $45.59 per month. When the carrier first partnered with Apple to start selling iPhones back in July, the 8GB model was available for the equivalent of $238.21 while its 16GB cousin was $357.32.



Seen together with Best Buy's discounts this week, the move could be geared toward clearing inventory ahead of an expected June announcement of a new iPhone handset. The SoftBank promotion expires the final day of May. Apple's Worldwide Developer Conference has recently been held in June and has twice served as a launch pad for new versions of the touch-screen handset.







Another possible explanation for the discounts is that Apple's iPhone partners may be feeling pressure to meet sales quotas for the iPhone 3G tied to their contracts with Cupertino-based company before a revised model his the market. Those quotas, which at one time may have seemed obtainable, may now be more of a burden given the slumping global economy and a worldwide pullback in consumer spending.



In general, analysts on Wall Street are expecting Apple this quarter to sell the fewest number of iPhone 3Gs since the handset was introduced last summer. Estimates have ranged anywhere from 2 million units to 3.5 million units.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 37
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Seems Japan is a hard market for Apple just like Nokia.
  • Reply 2 of 37
    Without the built-in TV tuners, radio and other things the typical Japanese are used to, of course the iPhone would have less appeal to customers.
  • Reply 3 of 37
    My guess would be that the Japanese are just not interested in the iPhone due to certain missing features. Chances are that even giving the iPhone away won't help. Apple would have to add the same features that most other handsets in Japan have and build a Japanese market specific iPhone. I'd be curious to find out if there were a lot of returns from people that tried the iPhone and were dissatisfied with it or if most potential users asked if it could do such and such and when told no, they just decided against it. I had hoped that the iPhone would sell based on coolness, but maybe the Japanese are more interested in practical when it comes to carrying a handset. I hope someone does a study on why the iPhone failed to catch on in Japan.
  • Reply 4 of 37
    I heard part of the problem in Japan is there's nowhere to hang your trinkets on the iphone, which is apparently a big deal. The cashier at my local Hello Kitty kiosk told me about it.



    What's the deal with the quotas? I hadn't read anything about that before.
  • Reply 5 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    I had hoped that the iPhone would sell based on coolness, but maybe the Japanese are more interested in practical when it comes to carrying a handset.



    coolness and hype only sell in america for some reasons; europe and japan will care more about functions, or with the iphone, rather the lack of them...
  • Reply 6 of 37
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Constable Odo View Post


    My guess would be that the Japanese are just not interested in the iPhone due to certain missing features. Chances are that even giving the iPhone away won't help. Apple would have to add the same features that most other handsets in Japan have and build a Japanese market specific iPhone. I'd be curious to find out if there were a lot of returns from people that tried the iPhone and were dissatisfied with it or if most potential users asked if it could do such and such and when told no, they just decided against it. I had hoped that the iPhone would sell based on coolness, but maybe the Japanese are more interested in practical when it comes to carrying a handset. I hope someone does a study on why the iPhone failed to catch on in Japan.



    Are they also not interested in the powerful Nokia phones people talk about here with all their so called features, why did Nokia pull out of that market?
  • Reply 7 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by emulator View Post


    coolness and hype only sell in america for some reasons; europe and japan will care more about functions, or with the iphone, rather the lack of them...



    I cant stand morons who think the only thing the iphone has going for it is "coolness and hype". Perhaps getting a clue should be high on your list of priorities.
  • Reply 8 of 37
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by emulator View Post


    coolness and hype only sell in america for some reasons; europe and japan will care more about functions, or with the iphone, rather the lack of them...



    What about Nokia which sells in Europe but had to pull out Japan because they can't compete, are they also selling on coolness and hype in Europe.
  • Reply 9 of 37
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by monstrosity View Post


    I cant stand morons who think the only thing the iphone has going for it is "coolness and hype". Perhaps getting a clue should be high on your list of priorities.



    You don't know Apple only sells their products on "coolness and hype." I mean they've sold like close to 200 million ipods, 13 million iphones all on "coolness and hype."
  • Reply 10 of 37
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Adjei View Post


    You don't know Apple only sells their products on "coolness and hype." I mean they've sold like close to 200 million ipods, 13 million iphones all on "coolness and hype."



    "Cool and Hype", it doesn't take much to hijack a thread, does it? People will buy, or not buy, the iPhone for a million reasons. End of story.



    As for Japan discounting iPhones, I think February is a bit early to start clearing inventory for a June refresh. I would think mid April would be the start, with the launch two months later (mid June).



    I think what we are seeing is a reaction to the market's dislike of the carrier fee schedule. Even after the discounts its still higher than it is here.
  • Reply 11 of 37
    citycity Posts: 522member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post


    Without the built-in TV tuners, radio and other things the typical Japanese are used to, of course the iPhone would have less appeal to customers.



    But they have iPhone emoticons or "emoji". We need to use the easter egg at the Spell Number app to get them.
  • Reply 12 of 37
    richlrichl Posts: 2,213member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Adjei View Post


    Are they also not interested in the powerful Nokia phones people talk about here with all their so called features, why did Nokia pull out of that market?



    I assume that you've never used a Japanese phone?



    Japanese phones have features that simply aren't relevent anywhere else (i.e. 1seg tuners). Each one is designed to order for a specific carrier.



    It's a model where the carrier has all of the power and generates all of the profit. Nokia has pulled out of the Japanese market (apart from their Vertu range) but, more interestingly, so have several high profile Japanese manufacturers. Recent changes in the law mean that people in Japan are keeping their phones longer and there simply isn't any profit in it for the manufacturers anymore.



    Nokia failed because they had the wrong features. Nokia pulled out because there's no profits to be made by manufacturers in Japan.
  • Reply 13 of 37
    adjeiadjei Posts: 738member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    I assume that you've never used a Japanese phone?



    Japanese phones have features that simply aren't relevent anywhere else (i.e. 1seg tuners). Each one is designed to order for a specific carrier.



    It's a model where the carrier has all of the power and generates all of the profit. Nokia has pulled out of the Japanese market (apart from their Vertu range) but, more interestingly, so have several high profile Japanese manufacturers. Recent changes in the law mean that people in Japan are keeping their phones longer and there simply isn't any profit in it for the manufacturers anymore.



    Nokia failed because they had the wrong features. Nokia pulled out because there's no profits to be made by manufacturers in Japan.



    "Nokia failed because they had the wrong features." Quote of the year.
  • Reply 14 of 37
    Not really a law but a guideline from the government on pricing of handsets.

    with wide adaption of purchase in installment for handsets, people tend to get the high-end ones and use it throughout the 2 years.



    Also, I want to see infrared for exchange of contact to happen in iphone, either build-in or apple-sanctioned method of using attachment that connects to dock connector.



    Quote:
    Originally Posted by RichL View Post


    I assume that you've never used a Japanese phone?



    Japanese phones have features that simply aren't relevent anywhere else (i.e. 1seg tuners). Each one is designed to order for a specific carrier.



    It's a model where the carrier has all of the power and generates all of the profit. Nokia has pulled out of the Japanese market (apart from their Vertu range) but, more interestingly, so have several high profile Japanese manufacturers. Recent changes in the law mean that people in Japan are keeping their phones longer and there simply isn't any profit in it for the manufacturers anymore.



    Nokia failed because they had the wrong features. Nokia pulled out because there's no profits to be made by manufacturers in Japan.



  • Reply 15 of 37
    hill60hill60 Posts: 6,989member
    So they brought the pricing into line with what a lot of companies in other countries have been offering for quite some time.



    The Japanese market is probably the most secular 90%+ of handsets sold there are from Japanese manufacturers.
  • Reply 16 of 37
    Free 3G iPhone (8GB) with a two year contract is a great deal. The cancellation fee is just ~$100 (9975 yen).
  • Reply 17 of 37
    tenobelltenobell Posts: 7,014member
    Missing iPhone functions have little to do with it, you guys are completely out of touch with what going on in the world. Japan is being hit hard by the world economic downturn.



    "Japan’s economy, the world’s second largest, is deteriorating at its worst pace since the oil crisis of the 1970s, hurt by shrinking exports and anemic spending at home."



    Japan’s Economy Plunges at Fastest Pace Since ’74
  • Reply 18 of 37
    irnchrizirnchriz Posts: 1,588member
    There will be undisclosed quotas with all of the carriers that Apple have agreements with. This is to ensure that the network keeps promoting the handset and moving inventory. I would imagine that there is a clause in the agreement with the network that if they miss the agreed targets then Apple can then sell the iPhone to a different network.
  • Reply 19 of 37
    Can someone comment about the language input on Asian phones. It seems almost all of native Japanese/Korean phones don't have any type of "QWERTY" and simply use a keypad. Obviously they don't use latin letters, but wouldn't some type of alternative input system work better than the number keys? I assume that they use some type of on-screen keyboard considering it seems a lot of their phones use a stylus.



    Does the iPhone solution work well? Is it normal for Asian speaking populations to use a finger-based touchscreen keyboard?
  • Reply 20 of 37
    sennensennen Posts: 1,465member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by emulator View Post


    coolness and hype only sell in america for some reasons; europe and japan will care more about functions, or with the iphone, rather the lack of them...



    laughing my a$$ off at the thought that coolness and hype doesn't sell in japan!!
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