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Ymobile touts simplicity, low fees in smartphone war

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

New mobile phone entrant Ymobile Corp. unveiled monthly fixed-price service plans Thursday that include voice calling and Internet access to woo newcomers to smartphones with simpler and cheaper contracts.

The SoftBank subsidiary, launched in June in a merger with eAccess, which runs Emobile, and Willcom, a PHS carrier, also revealed its first handset lineup.

The three data plans are the S plan, which charges ¥2,980 per month for 1 gigabyte worth of data usage, the M plan, which costs ¥3,980 for 3 GB of data, and the premium L plan, which costs ¥5,980 for 7 GB a month.

All three come with 300 free 10-minute voice calls and will be available in August.

Ymobile President Eric Gan said only half of Japan’s cellphone subscribers use smartphones, which is significantly lower than in markets like Singapore and South Korea.

He blamed this difference on Japan’s expensive and complicated monthly plans.

“Let’s make it simple and easy to understand,” he said.

The three established carriers, NTT Docomo, KDDI’s au and SoftBank, charge ¥2,700 for unlimited voice calls and ¥3,500 for 2 GB worth of data usage per month.

Ymobile will also launch a service together with partner Yahoo Japan called Packet Mileage. Ymobile users will receive Mileage points when they use Yahoo Japan’s services, including its home page or apps, it said.

The points can be exchanged for more data use capacity.