Japan’s Softbank offers 16GB iPad WiFi + 3G for free with two-year contract

Cyber Monday “Softbank Mobile has just announced a new pricing plan that makes Apple’s 16GB iPad WiFi + 3G model totally free with a two-year data agreement in Japan,” Darren Murph reports for Engadget.

“There’s no built-in monthly surcharge for this one; rather than paying off your iPad over 24 months, you’re actually getting it for nothing… ¥4,725 ($56) per month,” Murph reports.

Read more in the full article here.


  1. It still cheap than Rogers in Canada . Over a two year period the cost of data plus an 16G IPad would be $1500.66. The only benefit is that you are not lock in for the data plan, just pay as you go for 30 days of data at 5G for $35.

  2. @ nightfly

    Yea. If only Canada was the size of California with 4 times the population, we could construct a wireless network a lot easier and cheaper to construct and manage.

  3. @silverhawk
    Remember that you’re also paying for data, which here you can get from AT&T for $30 a month, so that would be like buying the iPad for
    Hey Softbank! That’s not free! But thanks for trying. At least it’s a better discount than Apple’s black friday deal.

  4. There is always a built-in cost to subsidize the lower price (or “free” price) of hardware. If it wasn’t the iPad the customer got for free, it would have been something else. And the customers who are really paying that full price for service (with no active contract) are subsidizing other customers who got something in the contract deal.

    I’m generally against government involvement, but if there is any such action, here’s what needs to happen. The wireless carrier needs to be forced to separate a “subsidy recover fee” from the “wireless service fee” on the customer’s bill. During the two-year contract, the customer pays back the cost of the hardware subsidy over 24 payments, along the monthly fee for the wireless service. After the two-year contract expires, the customer only pays the monthly fee for the wireless service going forward (until the next time the customer agrees to a subsidized deal for a spiffy new piece of hardware). People who paid full price to get an “unlocked” device (or bought a used device) can sign up as a customer and pay ONLY the fee for the wireless service, and NOT be forced to help subsidize the cost of other customers’ hardware deals.

    Think of it this way… The way it is now, it’s like buying a new car using a two-year auto loan. But when you finish the 24 payments, in order to keep drive your car, you need to keep paying the same monthly loan payment indefinitely (along with the ongoing actual cost of car ownership).

  5. @ MDmac,

    90% of Canadians live in major cities and along the highways that run between those cities.

    That’s where Rogers has their network.

    They no not have more network costs per subscriber than AT&T.

  6. @ ken1w
    Once you are out of the 24 month contract you are free to sign up to any contract that pleases you i.e. (you) … can sign up as a customer and pay ONLY the fee for the wireless service, and NOT be forced to help subsidize the cost of other customers’ hardware deals.

    However, I agree that it would be beneficial if they separated the billing details.

  7. @ skylark

    Not really. Once the contract expires, you are “free” to seek another contract, but if you do not because you want your current terms with no further time commitment OR you don’t want to commit to another time-based contract, even with better terms (OR you don’t take any action because you don’t know any better OR you’re too busy to bother), you will continue to pay the same monthly rate (as someone still under contract) indefinitely.

    And for standard iPhone use with ATT, I don’t think there is too much flexibility in plan choices and rates, even after contract expiration – someone please correct me if I’m wrong about that. If I own an iPhone 3GS and next June, the contract expires, but I like my iPhone 3GS and want to keep using it for at least another year, don’t I still have to stick with one of the standard ATT iPhone plans? (I’m not counting “unlocking” it and going to a service that does not fully support iPhone features, as a viable alternative for a typical user, although that’s what I have done.)

  8. I don’t understand the attraction to less than the 64GB model. I have a few songs, videos & about 600 apps on mine and there are only 16GB of space left. How can a 16GB iPad be useful for anything except what requires almost no storage space? I sure hope a 128GB model is offered with the iPad 2. That goes for the next iPod Touch as well.

  9. @futuremedia

    Really? I personally don’t get the point of even a 64GB model. Ive got the 16GB and have never been anywhere near hurting for space. Maybe I’m just odd for not putting literally very single thing in my iTunes library on mine at once? Seems to me that streaming music/video over 3G(Pandora ftw?) accounts for most of my own media usage, and I think it’s fair to say I’m not the only one in that regard.

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