All the major carriers in Japan now have unlimited calling plans

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?

iPhone 5 and iPhone quality issues

I’m still using my iPhone 4, having skipped the iPhone 4S. But I’m a bit hesitant about upgrading. The new “taller” form factor doesn’t seem especially thrilling to me.

But mainly, I’m always concerned about quality issues in the iPhone.

For example, on my iPhone 4 I’ve had “home button” issues. After a certain number of months the home button starts acting weird and single presses often act like double-presses, which is really irritating.

I had my originally iPhone 4 exchanged by Apple when they saw that happening. But then 7 months later the same thing started happening with the exchange unit they sent me, and I’m stuck with that now. So this seems like a design issue.

Does anybody know if this problem been fixed with the iPhone 5? I can’t find a way to ask Apple directly. They tend not to be forthcoming with details like that.

Shall I try an Android next?!