Have you already got new iPhone – iPhone 5? I am definitely going to get the one, but not yet. The primary reason I haven’t done so yet is I am still comparing two carriers. One is Softbank, another is au. Yes, there are multiple carriers in Japan just like AT&T, Sprint and Verizon in the U.S.
There are a few of points for comparison between the two:
- 4G LTE coverage
As you know, iPhone 5 can connect to LTE network, and Softbank and au have started providing the LTE service with iPhone 5 release on September 21st. This faster telecommunication network will bring us to the next generation literally. The coverage of LTE and actual connectivity matters a lot. According to this field test report, au showed better results in terms of both speed and connectivity at several major cities in Tokyo. However, this report says the opposite, Softbank is better. (Those tests were done on the first day of the service, when not a lot of people use them, so I don’t know how much they are trustworthy, though.)
Tethering is the option for people who often use their laptop out of office or home. I usually work at same place, so do not feel so often that I want the option. However, I have a mobile wifi router in case of working outside and it would be great if I do not have to take it every time I go out. au already have this option and Softbank will start in January.
Monthly rate is also one of the factors, but it does not matter so much as the above two.
I will probably decide in a couple of weeks after checking a bit more test reports. Until then, I enjoy being excited and dreaming to have the beautiful, new iPhone in my head.