updated 08:08 am EDT, Mon May 28, 2012
Amazon first foreign company to become an NVMO in Japan
Amazon will be the first foreign company to offer a prepaid wireless service in Japan. Nikkei [account required] reports prepaid SIM cards with 500MB preallocated to it will be sold for 1,980 Yen ($25) through the website, and as a mobile virtual network operator (MVNO), will be carried by NTT Docomo's LTE network. This takes place ahead of the expected Japanese launch of the Amazon Kindle in the summer.
Standard contracts for smartphones in Japan cost between 5,000 and 6,000 yen ($60-$75) per month, with prepaid SIMs not generally being offered by the carriers. The supplied SIM card that Amazon are to sell will work not only with NTT Docomo's selection of handsets, but also those built to "foreign specifications." With the iPhone not carried by NTT DoCoMo and, according to Japan Daily Press, president of the carrier Ryuji Yamada claiming not planning to do so in the near future, the Amazon SIM may well be a suitable work-around.
Amazon is due to launch the Kindle in Japan soon, which in reports is set to disrupt the e-reader market in the country. With the Kindle Touch including free 3G through NTT DoCoMo expected to be priced at 20,000 Yen ($250) and other local e-readers costing more, manufacturers such as Sony will feel price pressure not only on hardware but also through e-book sales.
Neither the Kindle release nor prepaid SIM sale dates have been disclosed as of yet.