This Is Why Freedom of Competition Is Good

Come June this year, NTT Docomo will be releasing a very welcomed new phone plan, i.e. unlimited outgoing calls to all three carriers (Docomo, Softbank, and AU).

The current average expenditure across all three carriers is approximately 8000 yen per month. That would be around 5743 yen for data, mail, etc. + outgoing calls which are charged at 20 yen per 30 second, meaning your bills will vary every month.

At the moment, Docomo offers an option where you pay a fixed amount to make unlimited calls to other Docomo users, but calls to Softbank and AU users will still be charged as per normal. With the increase in low-cost and even free calling functions in apps such as Line, Viber, Rakuten Denwa, etc., more people are making phone calls via apps instead of the regular chargeable lines. Further, many smartphone users are moving away from the major carriers to smaller players such as Aeon and OCN who offer as low as 980 yen data plans. And by purchasing a separate regular cellphone with Docomo at another 980 yen, your monthly expenses is kept under 2000 yen, although the downside is having to carry two phones on you all the time.

To combat that, Docomo’s new plan will consist of a fixed cost of 2700 yen per month for unlimited outgoing calls to other Docomo, Softbank, and AU users + data and other plans, which would total up to a fixed amount of around 5900 yen per month. That is a saving of as much as 2000 yen a month.

Although Softbank currently offers free Softbank-to-Softbank calls between 1am and 9pm everyday without additional charge, and AU used to offer unlimited calls to three other AU users also without additional charge, Docomo’s move is expected to cause these two players to come up with more competitive pricing plans to retain their share, if not increase them.

Hmm… maybe I shouldn’t change my phone until June…

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