Japan’s phone industry has long been known as a closed-off, protectionist, xenophobic three-party system. Sure, there’s Willcom, but come on now, that’s like saying The Green Party is a player in North American politics. As such, the Big Three (DoCoMo, au, SoftBank) all feel entitled to controlling everything in the telecommunications sphere. And as such, there is necessarily room for conjecture about the capabilities of foreign smartphones in the Japanese mobile ecosystem. Such as the following.
Living overseas, far from family and friends, Skype is an integral part of my life. It allows me to spend face time with the important people in my life even though they’re on the other side of the world. After a serious accident landed me in the hospital (for five months and counting), having Skype on the iPhone was a saviour as there is no wifi permitted in my hospital rooms.
Japanese phone carriers, of course, hate Skype. They want their customers to continue to pay 30-second increments based on 10-year-old pricing plans. However, due to its original exclusivity agreement with Apple for the iPhone in Japan, SoftBank was forced to allow iPhone users the ability to Skype.