Published on July 13th,2008 at 8:49 PM
By >Akihabara News Team

Was Softbank’s iPhone Launch Successful?

Far from what many said in Japan, the iPhone 3G launch was truly a great success for both Apple and Softbank with thousands of Japanese queuing up for several days at different locations. A first I would say for a phone released in Japan!

Was the launch perfect until the end? Well, almost… While more than 1500 people queued-up for hours in front of the main store in Harajuku, very few had a chance to get one on the first day while many others had to return the second day or this Sunday. A price to pay to get the first REAL Internet capable phone in Japan? (It seems that Access has much to learn and fix on their NetFront PC site browser ). Even if things were acceptable at two or three Tokyo stores, in Yokohama and Kawasaki things were completely different in regular Softbank stores and BicCamera, Yodobashi Camera or Yamada Denki stores (Best Buy equivalents).

VERY few units to none were shipped to regular Softbank stores and other Softbank points of sale, and over the past three days all Softbank employees had the same answers to these questions:

- Do you have iPhones? : No.
- When will you get one in? : We have no idea, and our HQ has given us no further information.
- Can I pre-order? : No. We don’t know if or when we’ll get more iPhones.

The feeling we had after checking on “D-Day +1 is that many customers are frustrated and angry with Softbank due to their failure to prepare for the huge demand here in Japan. We have yet to call Softbank to get “official” answers, but it seems to us they weren’t ready for the launch and may have been too small a company to handle it.

Here’s another question we have concerning the launch. Was this simply a marketing ploy to increase customer expectations for the famous iPhone?

Category Phones
              
Related Articles


 

3

iPhone 3G: Nice New Video

0

LG W2600-PF & L206WU-PF Available Now in Japan

Comments
 

  • DPUkyle

    I think SoftBank is deliberately withholding supply to create more demand and media attention.

    I will try going to Harajuku later today (Monday)… wish me luck.

  • VooDooRoo

    good luck matey….

    If people actually got over the hype of a
    “lets face it”

    telephone!

    you would get a itouch at “hard off” store for 35 000yen and surf the net and do nearly everything the “telephone” can do?

    Iphone -starting to equal boring lol

    V D R

    Itouch ppl Itouch save your cash

  • http://ikusuki.blogspot.com Oskar

    Is not only Softbank’s problem in Japan, the demand in all the world has been huge and the “iPhone sold out” sign is everywhere.

    I think is much more global problem than Softbank and Japan.

  • VooDooRoo

    anyone know the cost to actually buy the phone? Have to get it on contract?
    I`m going back to Australia in October and would love to talk one home…

    Yaho auctions they a ridiculously priced

    V D R

  • http://www.japaneconomynews.com Ken

    They all sold out in one day. It’s hard to call that not a success. Apple won’t say how many there were nor how many it aims to sell in Japan. In other words, this is a long-term thing. Success of the iPhone won’t be determined in a day, a weekend, or even the first month. It will be determined by long-term performance and market share over years.,

  • ML

    I missed out on Friday at the small Softbank Store in Jiyugaoka and the store people were so clueless that I got the impression there was no way I’d get one during the weekend. Then I went to the Omotesando store around 4pm on Saturday and saw a line with a three hour wait (I didn’t want one that bad), so I went to have dinner with my family in Harajuku. Afterwards we walked past the store again (around 8PM) and there was no line so I went in and picked one up. In total it only took 45 minutes, was an easy transaction, and I got the impression they had plenty of stock of the 8GB model.

    So my recommendation is to go to the Softbank Store in Omotesando or the Yodobashi in Akihabara. It appears most of the retailers are supplying only the big stores with large quantities until things calm down.

  • ML

    Here’s some information on Softbank iPhone contract requirements:

    Japanese Citizen/Foreign Resident with >27 months remaining on Visa:

    2 year contract req. 8GB phone was 2,200 yen/month, plus white plan, unlimited data, and their email thing for a total of about 10,000 yen per month for 2 years. Payment must be made via auto bank withdrawal or Japan-based credit card. Pmt at conven. store is not allowed for iPhone. No money required up front as price of phone is spread over the 2-years. Softbank was also selling AppleCare for 7,800 yen but it didn’t cover drops, loss, or water damage (and SoftBank didn’t offer any additional insurance on their end).

    Hope this helps,
    Mike

  • ML

    More Softbank iPhone details:

    Foreign resident with

  • ML

    Repost…..

    Foreign resident with more than 27 months remaining on Visa:

    Must pay for the phone up front as if no contract exists. Price for the 16GB model was about 80,000 yen and 8GB was about 70,000. If your Visa is close to 27 month mark they might be a little flexible, maybe a 1-year contract instead of 2 to reduce the price of the phone.

    If you are a foreign resident, make sure you bring your passport w/visa, gaijin card, and bank book or cash card or else you’ll be out of luck.

  • ML

    Correction!

    My last post should have said foreign resident with less than 27 months remaining on your visa. Sorry………

  • Mikeal

    Re the iPhone, seems to be a lot of mumbo jumbo about contracts and prices.First the price has been set by the agreement between Apple and Softbank at 8G 24000 yen and some change and the 16G at 34000 yen and some change.Typically Softbank like many other big companies here in Japan are not satisfied with only getting that much money for the item so they have devised a complicated BS type of formula to double their income from the sale of iPhones to have an end price of about 87000 yen plus the extra 5000 yen added to your contract if you are an existing customer to cover the new 3G service.(just another loophole to squeeze more cash from the buyer.) Once the shop assistant at Softbank stores do some creative accounting with the figures the actual retail price for the 16G model becomes 34000 yen and change–as it was in the first place, but Softbank are such nice people they are giving you this massive discount—-yeh right!

  • Mikeal

    Continued..Then, if you are an existing customer they throw on an extra 6000 yen fo changing phones to the iPhone, like what is this a penalty payment for buying from Softbank.Where I live the local Softbank stoes told customers that no 8G phones were being released until later ???! so they could push sales of the expensive model first, more BS. The Softbank stores have no as in zero accessories available, customer being told to go to an Apple shop. If you do not have a pc available to finish the set up yourself,such as downloading your address book from your previous phone,(Softbank uploads your contacts to a server and you must USB to a pc to get them back and that is a major mission syncing your phone running English with their web site running Japanese, doesn’t work very well!) I ended up taking an hour and a half to re-enter my contacts and numbers manually.

  • Mikeal

    Overall the sign up process was pathetic,the staff did not seem to know a damn thing, constantly referring to a pile of paperwork on how to and what to do next etc.,Being a foriegner did not seem to be an issue, drivers license only credit card for monthly payments, that is fairly common here for most transactions of this kind.Having done some web research on Softbank’s prices and tech specs, I did have the feeling that most customers probably know more about the phones than Softbank staff.The phone itself I am still assessing as of yesterday 7/20 so far seems very user friendly and of course it is all in English …that is why I wanted it and downloading apps is English.

  • Mikeal

    continued..The signup and general Softbank experience however was the biggest example of corporate BS and product ignorance I have yet experienced in Japan and I would have to agree with above comment, maybe Softbank are too small to carry the ball with something with this amount of global hype, thet just saw the dollar signs and told Apple yes we can do this. Well Softbank you dropped the ball way short of the line regarding customer service, product knowledge and PR re price and availablity. (end) sorry this 4 part comment is so long folks, 1000 character limit and I had a lot to say, for better or worse.

  • http://rwldnpp.com RichardW

    Mikeal, thanks for your indepth post. I was glad to have my own findings confirmed. 80,000 yen is a MASSIVE amount to pay especially when in America and Europe it’s half the price. I’ve got a year long visa, anyone know of a way to get hold of a phone with paying this upfront?

    ARGGHH fu*king softbank!!

 

0

Panasonic - Massager that relaxes your muscles and warms them gently

1

World's lightest and thinnest circuits pave the way for 'imperceptible electronics'

0

Panasonic - Smartphone-sized portable full body massager

0

Nestlé - KitKat - 2013 summer seasonal special flavors

0

Turn your iPhone 4/4s or 5 into a real pocket camcorder thanks to Donya

0

Japanese Technology from the Future Friday!

0

LG - Pink-colored model will be added to Pocket photo

3

Sharp - Electronic handwriting notebook that can save 2000 pages data

0

LG - Ultra-wide LCD monitor with a cinematic 21:9 aspect ratio

0

Panasonic – DMC-XS3 – Slim & classic designed Lumix camera

0

Panasonic - DMC-FZ70 - Lumix camera with the world's first 60X optical zoom

0

Japanese Robots: The Seemingly Least Cool Robotics Story of July is a Must-Read!

1

Sony - α58 - DSLR camera with interchangeable lenses

0

Thanko - 7.5mm biz card sized portable battery - Increased in battery capacity by 1200mAh over the previous model

0

JVC Kenwood - ADIXXION "GC-XA2" - dustproof, shockproof, waterproof, low-temperature resistant action camera

0

NTT docomo - Disney Mobile on docomo F-07E - Disney official smartphone