As the first foreign company to do so, Amazon has announced that it will be selling prepaid 500MB SIM cards for a flat price of 1980 yen (approx. $24.86). The cards will work on Japan’s largest mobile service provider, NTT Docomo, and will be compatible with their LTE networks. This agreement is seen a precursor to the partnership the two companies have to bring Amazon’s flagship e-reader, Kindle, to the Japanese market later this summer.
Normal contracts for smartphone plans can cost between 5000 and 6000 yen (between $63 and $75) per month, so prepaid cards would serve to give customers better control over their usage and bills. What’s interesting is that the SIM cards will work in NTT Docomo’s own smartphones and tablets, as well as in devices that aren’t offered by the carrier, such as the iPhone or those that are built to “foreign specifications.” Since the NTT Docomo president has recently stated that the carrier has no plans to offer the iPhone in the future, this could be one way that customers can use their favorite Apple device on Japan’s largest network.
Amazon and NTT Docomo have yet to specify when the prepaid cards will be available for purchase. Working with Docomo on this is a great strategy on Amazon’s part. When they bring the Kindle to Japan, they will be up against mighty competition from Sony, who has been the dominant e-reader manufacturer until now. A strong relationship with Japan’s largest mobile service provider will make sure Amazon has a strong footing when it enters the nation’s market.