All the major carriers now – AU, Softbank and DoCoMo – are competing and have introduced “unlimited calling plans” and all for about the same price. The basic cost is 2,700 yen/month for calling. This is 24 hour calling, to any carrier, and to regular phone lines as well. Then you choose a data package, typically starting at 2 GB per month and going up from there.
As I mentioned the other day, starting tomorrow my new AU package will kick in. I chose the 2 GB plan (which comes with an extra 1 GB per month for the first 13 months) since I checked and have never used more than 1 GB per month.
Today I helped a friend on Softbank switch to their equivalent package. He will save a lot of money because he makes lots of calls. His plan will kick in on 9/11. They also checked and saw he never exceeds 1 GB per month of data, so the lowest cost data package will be perfect for him.
And we both get to keep our tethering option.
There is one contractual difference between the Softbank plan and the AU plan though. In typical Softbank fashion, if you switch to this new plan you are recommitting for another two years as of the date it takes effect. With AU there is no contract extension; they just consider it a “change of plan.” In that sense, AU is nicer about it.
Anyway, it’s a good deal in both cases. It looks like the age of unlimited calling has come to Japan.
But as they say, what good are unlimited minutes if they all have to be spent on the phone?