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Guide to Smarter Contract: SoftBank Air

SoftBank Air is a wireless internet service provided by SoftBank, a Japanese multinational conglomerate holding company with subsidiaries including Arm holdings in the U.K, Sprint in the U.S., and Alibaba in China. 

SoftBank Air doesn't need a physical installation like optical fiber internet services, so its subscribers can use the internet only in 1 to 2 weeks after the subscription.

Because of the feature, SoftBank HIKARI(SoftBank光), a fiber-optics internet service provider by SoftBank, lends its customers SoftBank Air while they wait for the fiber installation to be done and the internet to be activated.

This article talks about the features of SoftBank Air internet service with the Pros and the Cons of it and how to get SoftBank Air at a cheaper price through promotion.         

What is SoftBank Air?

About the Service & Price

softbank air router
SoftBank Air's Router, Air Terminal

About the Service

SoftBank Air is a wireless internet service that can be used by simply plugging its router called Air Terminal(エアターミナル) into an electrical outlet. 

Like smartphone's internet, Air Terminal uses LTE internet, and the max speed is 350Mbps(average speeds can differ regarding users' environment).

Despite both SoftBank Air and smartphone use the same LTE internet, SoftBank Air's internet speed is faster than those of smartphone internet.

That's because Air Terminal has a high-performing antenna in it, and it helps Air Terminal catch LTE signals better. 

Smartphones' max internet speed is 112.5Mbps, so SoftBank Air's max speed is over 3 times faster than those of Smartphones


SoftBank Air's basic monthly charge is  4880 yen, and it could be more depending on the user's internet plan, but the actual charge can get cheaper as subscribers get a monthly discount on it through promotion. More details about it are dealt with on the bottom part of this article. 

Pros of SoftBank Air

No Physical Installation

no internet installation

As a wireless internet service, SoftBank Air doesn't need a physical installation in the building. So, you don't need to care about all the tiresome works related to the installation.

You don't need to make a reservation for the installation and to be present during the work.

Plus, you don't need the permission of a house owner for the installation if you live in a rented house(no rented apartment).

Those are bothersome to even Japanese, so it could be very tiresome for expats who can't speak Japanese well.


And, of course, there is no fee for the installation. 


No Speed Restriction

Wireless internet services in Japan such as smartphone's LTE internet and WiMAX often give data-usage limits for a month or few days to their users(even Unlimited Data Plan of WiMAX has a data-usage limit per 3 days),

and if users use data over the limit, the internet speed would become very slow during a specific period. 

On the other hand, SoftBank Air doesn't give a data-usage limit, and there is no speed restriction. 

*However, there is a possibility of temporal speed restrictions due to heavy traffic.


SoftBank Smartphone Bundle Deal 

japan internet smartphone bundle deal

Like WiMAX users can get a monthly bundle discount for using WiMAX and au smartphone service together, SoftBank smartphone users can get a monthly discount for bundling their phone service and SoftBank Air.

The bundle deal is called Home Bundle Discount (おうち割 光セット, Ouchiwari Set), and below is a table showing discounts according to smartphone's data plans. 

SoftBank Home Bundle Discount
Data Plan(Data Limit) Monthly Discount

Smartphone's Light Plan

・3G Phone

Tablet PC's Plan

・for 4G LTE(iPad)
・for 4G(other tablets)




*Discount can apply to up to 10 devices in a family. 

Cons of SoftBank Air

Wireless but Not Portable

softbank air router
Air Terminal at Home

Unlike other wireless internet services such as WiMAX, SoftBank Air's router, Air Terminal is needed to be plugged into an electrical outlet so cannot be used outside of the building. 

If you spend most of the time outdoor, SoftBank Air would not be convenient, and WiMAX(portable WiFi) is more recommended.


SoftBank Air's max speed is 350Mbps, and it's slower than those of fiber optic internet (max speeds are from 1 to 2Gbps) and WiMAX(the max speed is 440Mbps).

However, as SoftBank Air's internet connection is more stable than WiMAX for indoor internet use, the actual SoftBank Air's speed could be faster than those of WiMAX.  

If internet speed and stability are the most important to you, fiber optic internet is more recommended. 

In this case, SoftBank HIKARI is highly recommended. If you make a contract with SoftBank HIKARI via a promotion,

you can use fiber optic internet which is faster than SoftBank Air with a monthly charge cheaper than those of SoftBank Air!

If you are interested in SoftBank HIKARI, click the links below. 

How to Get SoftBank Air at Cheaper Price

Getting SoftBank Air can get cheaper by choosing the right plan regarding the user's internet usage period and subscribing to the service through promotion.

Choosing the Right Internet Plan for You

softbank air plan
SoftBank Air's Internet Plans

SoftBank Air lets its customers choose between two internet plans. One is Air Terminal Hire-Purchase Plan(分割払い in Japanese, Hire-Purchase Plan for short) and another is Air Terminal Rental Plan(レンタル in Japanese, Rental Plan for short)(as a reminder, Air terminal is WiFi Router of SoftBank Air).

Both plans are 2-year contracts.


About SoftBank Air Plans


Then which plan is cheaper? It depends on the user's usage period and whether a promotion is applied or not.


Without Promo

In general, without promotion, if you want to use SoftBank Air for 2 years, Rental Plan is cheaper than another.

And, if you want to use SoftBank Air for more than 3 years, Hire-Purchase Plan is cheaper

That's because, if you choose Hire-Purchase Plan and use the service for more than 3 years, SoftBank Air offers a monthly discount of 1,980 yen for 36 months(1,980 X 36 = 71,280 yen as a result), and that is the same amount of the device's price.

So the actual fee for the device becomes free. In this case, you pay less money than if you choose Rental Plan. 

You should be aware that if you subscribe to Hire-Purchase Plan and use SoftBank Air for 2 years, SoftBank Air offers a monthly discount of 1,980 yen only for 24 months,

and you need to pay the rest of the fee which is 23,760 yen(71,280 yen - 1,980 yen X 24 months) even after you finish your 2-year contract.  


With Promo

However, if you get a contract for SoftBank Air through promotion, even for 2-year use, Hire-Purchase Plan gets cheaper than Rental Plan. Below are details about the promo.

Getting a Monthly Discount and Cashback (via Promo)

Below is a promotion by SoftBank Air's provider, Yahoo! BB.

Monthly Charge

  • Air Terminal Hire-Purchase Plan(分割払い): 3,278 yen (for the first year)*
  • Air Terminal Rental Plan(レンタル): 5,907 yen

*About the monthly charge of Hire-Purchase Plan: 1,980 yen(a discount values the device installment fee) + 2,090 yen(special discount) discount is applied to the monthly charge for the first year. From the next year, you only get 2,090 yen monthly discount till the 36th month from the order.


  • Air Terminal Hire-Purchase Plan(分割払い): 25,000 yen cashback

* This promo only applies to whom subscribe to SoftBank Air through the promotional web page below.

Promotional Web Page: SoftBank Air(Japanese Only)

• English Guide to Online Ordering: Guide to SoftBank Air

(promotion period: 25,000 yen cashback 2021. 9. 27~ / Special discount for the 1st year 2023. 4. 4~)

Through the above promo, even for 2-year use, Hire-Purchase Plan is more advantageous than Rental Plan.

It's because, through the promo, subscribers can get 25,000 yen cashback and an extra monthly discount of 2,090 yen for 12 months which covers 23,760 yen, the Air Terminal purchase fee left after the 2-year contract.

* Only Hire-Purchase Plan is available through this promotion, Rental Plan is not available. 

Promotional Web Page: SoftBank Air