updated 02:40 pm EST, Mon February 25, 2008
Planning to disrupt what it believes is a static phone industry, startup carrier EMobile today announced its first service plans for its home country of Japan. Instead of requiring a monthly fee or having customers buy prepaid blocks of time, the new service will operate largely on a metered system. Customers pay roughly 17 cents for every 30 seconds of call time; they can also buy unlimited local calls for slightly more than $9 per month if they are regular users, EMobile adds. In exchange, the carrier asks customers to use 3G Internet access over HSPA up to 7.2Mbps for between $19 and $55 per month depending on the level of access.
Two phones also accompany the launch. The Toshiba H11T can connect to the 3G network at up to 3.6Mbps and fits a sharper 400x240 screen into a clamshell design alongside a 3.2-megapixel camera, microSD storage, and assisted GPS. The HTC S11T is a Japanese adaptation of the AT&T Tilt (also known as the HTC TyTN II) that can connect to both HSPA as well as new 1.7GHz 3G networks where available. Both the phones and the service should be available on March 28th.
While its unlimited plan is matched by rival Japanese carrier Softbank, the EMobile service as a whole is expected to eat into the subscriber share for both Softbank as well as other rivals such as KDDI and NTT DoCoMo, many of which have held to conventional services that hand out pre-defined minutes and rarely offer unlimited services. EMobile is entering a market many believe is already oversaturated and where future data devices, such as an anticipated Japanese iPhone, are predicted to be the future of the market. [via Impress]