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 is done and the internet is activated.

This article talks about the features of SoftBank Air internet service with Pros and 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 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 use 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 signal better. 

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

Price    

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 bothering even to 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

・2GB/1GB
・3G Phone

Tablet PC's Plan

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

500yen

・50GB/20GB/5GB

1000yen

*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 be not convenient, and WiMAX(portable WiFi) is more recommended.

Speed

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 is the most important to you, fiber optic internet is more recommended. 

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 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, for the users who choose Hire-Purchase Plan and use the service for 3 years, SoftBank Air offers a monthly discount of 1,620 yen for 36 months(1620 X 36 = 58320 yen as a result),

so the actual fee for the device becomes free for the users to use SoftBank Air for more than 3 years, and it is cheaper than Rental Plan. 

You should be aware that if you subscribe for Hire-Purchase Plan and use SoftBank Air for 2 years, SoftBank Air offers a monthly discount of 1,620 yen only for 24 months,

and you need to pay the rest of the fee which is 19440 yen(5,8320 yen - 1,620 yen X 24 month) 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 promotion by SoftBank Air's provider, Yahoo! BB.

softbank air
 
    • Monthly Charge

Air Terminal Hire-Purchase Plan(分割払い): 1,717 yen for 1 year

Air Terminal Rental Plan(レンタル): 5,370 yen

*Monthly charge of Hire-Purchase is the price after discounts below are applied to.

*Air Terminal is a router of SoftBank Air. 

    • About the Charges

Hire-Purchase Plan:

25,000 yen cashback(money back) + 1,080 yen monthly discount for 1 year(*with Ouchiwari HIKARI Set(internet+smartphone bundle deal), 580 yen monthly discount)

If 25,000 yen is divided by 12(months), it gives 2,083 yen.

And if 2,083 yen and 1,080yen are substrated from 4,880yen, it becomes 1,717 yen, the advertised monthly charge.

*This 25,000 yen cashback is provided only when you make a contract on 5th,15th, and 25th day of every month. If you order SoftBank Air on the other dates, cashback will be 15,000 yen.

Rental Plan:

Basic Monthly Charge 4,880 yen + Router Rental Fee 490 yen = 5,370 yen

 

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

Promotional Web Page: SoftBank Air(Japanese Only)

(promotion period: 2019.7.1~)

• English Guide to Online Ordering: Guide to SoftBank Air


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 a monthly discount of 1,080 yen which covers 19,440 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. If you want to order the service with Rental Plan, go to this website (however, you can only get 490 yen discount in the first month if you order the service here).

* If you order Ouchiwari HIKARI Set(internet+smartphone bundle discount), you will only get 580 yen/month discount and not get any cashback through this promo.

Promotional Web Page: SoftBank Air