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Softbank Mobile pulls an old Softbank BB marketing trick October 18, 2006

Posted by fukumimi in Communications, Japan.

Softbank Mobile (the rebranded Vodafone Japan) has announced that it will be giving away repeater antennas for users who have problems with reception indoors. The antennas are worth about JPY20,000 and they also pay for the fitting (apparently the total cost is around JPY50,000).

It reminds me of the marketing ploy employed by Softbank Yahoo BB in (successfully) promoting their ADSL service by having scantily clad women (which I recall quickly became non-descript guys and gals in less provocative clothing) on street corners giving away ADSL routers (which you had to buy or lease with other providers). Of course, you had to sign up to the Yahoo BB ADSL service for like an eternity, probably, with a hefty cancellation charge for early termination.

I’m sure the same free but with a mandatory long term commitment model is in play here…. I wonder if the antenna is configured to be useless for non-Softbank Mobile networks which operate on similar frequencies….



1. matt - October 19, 2006

more like, the antenna emits interference for non-Softbank Mobile network phones within a fixed radius. How’s that for being anti-competitive? 🙂

2. Chris_B - October 21, 2006

Actually the Yahoo BB contract was about the same as any other. The giveaway was a move to gain market share fast and to pre-emp the competition. The estimates were that they would have to retain a customer for about 50 months to cover costs IIRC. But honestly, it was no worse of a deal for me than any other provider and I got signed up much faster than NTT promised me they could.

The Tepco fibre deal I got later was astounding. They would do the premise work free and I got a ¥15,000 gift certificate to Sato Musen with signup. Minimum term of contract was 6 months past the first free 6 months of service.

Never forget that by Japanese business logic, marketshare can be more important than profit.

3. CNT - November 2, 2006

I spent about a month or so in Japan earlier this year (after living in Japan from 94 – 04) and needed a cheap internet connection to stay connected with work. We used Yahoo BB, and man, was it ever flexible. I think we’re still subscribing (we’re back in N. America now), but it’s really easy to stop the service temporarily (for, say, 12 months) and avoid paying, and then restart when needed. Japanese phone an Internet service is waaay more convenient than its counterparts in N. America, where every little last thing is nickle-and-dime.

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