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Buying iPhone 4 in Japan without contract/breaking a Softbank contract?


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Aug 15, 2010
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I'm going to be in Japan from tomorrow for about two weeks. I read that the iPhone 4 is available from Y46,080, which sounds pretty reasonable.

I have a question, one that was thrown up by something a friend from Japan just told me. He told me it's impossible to get an iPhone 4 in Japan without a Softbank contract.

Now, if I were to get a Softbank contract and get an iPhone 4, how easy is it to cancel the contract during the first month? I heard somewhere that it is easy to cancel phone contracts in Japan, and it should be, since the iPhone price there is unsubsidised, and when you get an iPhone plan with Softbank, they build in future savings rather than subsidising at purchase.

Basically, cancelling a contract means the consumer forgoing future savings on the iPhone, as opposed to the consumer getting out of future debt obligations owed to the carrier (incurred at purchase of iPhone). Basically, if the consumer owes nothing, it should be easier on the carrier to allow cancellation of contract.

Is that the case? Can anyone from/in Japan tell me how easy it would be for me to get an iPhone either (a) without contract, or (b, and more likely) get an iPhone on Softbank contract, then break the contract in the first month and have an iPhone with no contract obligations (I will be jailbreaking the thing as soon as I get it home anyway, so no worries about the SIMlock).

Thanks in advance,
Okay so here's my best guess. I mean, it WAS pretty easy before to break off a contract, hence tons of people did that and ran off with the phones without having to pay for the rest of the subsidized amount and the rest of the "White" plan.

To get an iPhone plan, you'd sign a 2 year contract of a white plan, a data plan, and the S! Basic pack. And of course the phone, but then since you're buying it, scrap that.

A white plan is 980 yen, a data plan can go from 1,029 yen-4,410 yen to an unlimited 4,410 yen, and an S! Basic pack is around 315 yen a month.

Say you went for the unlimited data plan, so you'd be paying 5,705 yen a month. If you're going to cancel a contract you'd still have to pay for that 5,705 yen x 24 months.

I'm not entirely sure about this, your best guess is to contact Softbank. =]