Docomo unveils new monthly pricing scheme for smartphones


NTT Docomo Inc. on Friday announced a new monthly fee plan for smartphones that costs ¥4,500 per person for subscriptions covering three family members.

The new plan, excluding tax, will debut in March and is ¥2,000 per person lower than its current scheme. It was achieved by limiting the amount of data communication that can be shared by family members to a maximum of 5 gigabytes. Fees will be lower for families with four members or more.

For families, NTT Docomo has been offering a monthly rate of ¥19,500, or ¥6,500 each for a family of three, allowing 15 gigabytes of data communication and phone calls for free if shorter than five minutes.

In exchange for curbing the upper limit on data, the monthly rate for the new plan will be ¥13,500. For long-time subscribers using the company’s plan for 10 years or more, additional discounts of between ¥600 and ¥800 will be offered.

On Friday, three major mobile operators — NTT Docomo, KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. — told the communications ministry they will launch a review their practice of setting high smartphone charges in exchange for excessive handset discounts starting next month.

  • Stephen Chadfield

    You can get much cheaper deals from re-sellers such as BICSIM and Mineo.

  • shonangreg

    IIJmio, an MVNO using docomo’s network, 1600 yen per month, includes 3GB data. Voice calls are expensive if you use that, though. I almost never do. (I think dmm, another mvno, might have a similar package.)

    You need your own SIM-unlocked phone, though, compatible with docomo or Softbank (GSM). Many carrier-branded phones here, even when unlocked, still can’t be used as a WiFi tether, though. That remains locked down.

    Y! Mobile has had better deals than the big three. The price varies, but you do get a Nexus 5X, totally SIM-unlocked after three months. Two years later, you could switch to IIJmio or one of the other MVNOs.

    And for more data, UQ WiMax offers their WiFi hotspot devices. 4800 per month, basically 1GB per day (actually 3GB in 3 days). Pay 6400 yen a month and they will give you 50,000 yen toward an iPad. (you pay 40,000 over 24 months but they give you 50,000. 10,000 yen discount/promotional from Apple, I guess…)

    So, IIJmio plus UQ WiMax basic would be 6400 yen per month (3GB phone, 30GB WiFi). I pay 9600 yen per month for my S5 with 7GB (which I do use, could easily use 10GB just showing a few more videos to classes). Good for most people, unless you talk a lot on the carrier voice plan*. And you can do that with LINE, viber, WhatsApp, etc. and just use data.

    * The voice plans radically changed a year or so back. I think voice is no longer metered, but you still have to pay an outrageous monthly plan. I think this was to try and battle LINE and other off-calling plan voice options.