If you have, or have had, a contract with Softbank (one of the main mobile carriers in Japan), you may have experienced Softbank's seemingly differing policies. (This may be the case at the other carriers as well, although I've heard less about them in this regard, so please let me know if you have a story to share.)
For my latest column, I spent about two months(!) trying to clarify some of Softbank's official policies regarding making a contract, as people have been told all sorts of things by different Softbank stores. As you can read in the column, they did give me some answers, but the whole process was incredibly confusing and frustrating. I've not really had much to complain about in regards to Softbank before, and I really wanted to try to clear up any misunderstandings for both sides. However, after numerous phone conversations and an exceptionally long thread of emails, I'm not 100% sure what they told me is actually their "official policy" (in fact, they said they couldn't give me anything in writing with these "policies").
And I'll be honest, after all this, I'm considering switching carriers. I also don't like that they won't reveal what they actually check when they run the ID process. Is it really a secret?
You can read the column for yourself and feel free to share your experience with Softbank, or any other carrier, whether positive or negative, in the comments below. I'd love to hear about other carriers and it'd be interested to see how many SiJ readers have had positive or negative experiences getting a cell phone in Japan.
Softbank's policies on foreign customers hard to pin down | Japan Times