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Old Jun 15, 09, 12:53 pm   #1
 
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Cell phones in Japan - is it texting? SMS? email?

So if I text a friend in Japan from the US, the person can receive my SMS.

I don't receive a reply SMS from my friend.

My friend also says that they email each other from phones in Japan.

They have email addresses like blah@softbank.ne.jp

Does this sound right? My friend is not good with tech
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Old Jun 15, 09, 1:00 pm   #2
 
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Most people use email, not SMS, but most phones can handle SMS. I sent someone an SMS and they had no idea how to retrieve it, nor what the icon on the screen meant. They used email all the time but had never used SMS.

Usually if I want to 'text' someone in Japan, I ask them for their 'phone email address' and use my blackberry to send an email.
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Old Jun 15, 09, 4:42 pm   #3
 
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Indeed, most Japanese phones have SMS functionality but it is almost never used here (except for certain network communications, like telling you you missed a call).

Plain-text email is the way to communicate with Japanese mobiles.
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Old Jun 15, 09, 7:08 pm   #4
 
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Modern Softbank phones support SMS and, since it's free and immediate, I know a lot of folks (including me) that use it extensively. Can't SMS to AU or Docomo users, however. Since the iPhone Softbank email is not push, this is a big downer.
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Old Jun 16, 09, 12:27 am   #5
 
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Just send by e-mail,he or she will receive on the phone.
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Old Jun 16, 09, 1:10 am   #6
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I will try and tackle this one.

Non pre-paid cellphone accounts have an e-mail account associated with them when the account is established. It is part of the package. They also have SMS capabilities but the usage is limited to sending/receiving from non-Japanese carriers and people on the same domestic carrier.

You can send to that personís cellphone e-mail account which will always be a docomo.ne.jp, ezweb.ne.jp, Softbank.ne.jp etc. style address. Unless forwarding is set it will always land on there phone as does an SMS in the rest of the world. Most Japanese phone users do not rely heavily on SMS until travelling abroad with their phones as the SMS messages are received free whereas mail costs money and people have to set the phone up to check the title of messages before downloading so as not to incur huge charges for useless messages.

The e-mail capabilities on Japanese phones so far exceeds anything SMS can do, and the cost is so reasonable that SMS is a primitive technology here with limited uses including sending to friends overseas or receiving free mini-mail while overseas oneself.

You can send SMS and they will receive it. They can reply with SMS also. But you can also send e-mail to a phone and have them receive it there with you having the ability to use a computer or PDA/Smartphone to send it.

Hope that helps a bit,

Mike
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Old Jun 16, 09, 2:50 am   #7
 
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A few comments from a hair-splitting telco geek...

While Japanese 2G (PDC) mobiles have had text messaging from pretty much day one with (non-)standards like J-Phone SkyMail and Docomo ShortMail, "SMS" as defined in GSM 03.40/MAP Phase 2 is a GSM-only technology and was unknown and unsupported in Japan until recently. Not only did these Japanese homebrew text messaging services not support sending/receiving messages to/from overseas, but they couldn't send messages across to other Japanese operators either. This is why text messaging in Japan was nearly totally supplanted by e-mail, which is cross-compatible across everything, as early as 1999.

Fortunately, Japan's pretty much hooked onto 3G these days, and the WCDMA/UMTS phones used by Softbank and Docomo do technically support GSM SMS, complete with international sending and receiving... although as noted above, whether the average Japanese user knows how to use these features is a different nabe of sakana. In additional, au (KDDI) uses the incompatible CDMA2000/EVDO standard and hence still doesn't support SMS, locking their users into their proprietary "c-Mail" instead.
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Old Jun 17, 09, 6:27 pm   #8
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mjm View Post
I will try and tackle this one.

Non pre-paid cellphone accounts have an e-mail account associated with them when the account is established. It is part of the package. They also have SMS capabilities but the usage is limited to sending/receiving from non-Japanese carriers and people on the same domestic carrier.

You can send to that personís cellphone e-mail account which will always be a docomo.ne.jp, ezweb.ne.jp, Softbank.ne.jp etc. style address. Unless forwarding is set it will always land on there phone as does an SMS in the rest of the world.

Mike
I have a prepaid Softbank boring candybar phone and I've got an phone email address assigned to me. What it doesn't allow is to me to SMS out of Japan; I can SMS to other Softbank phones though.
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Old Jun 18, 09, 4:27 am   #9
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The times they are a changin' ....

And apparently for the better. Thanks for the heads up.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxis View Post
I have a prepaid Softbank boring candybar phone and I've got an phone email address assigned to me. What it doesn't allow is to me to SMS out of Japan; I can SMS to other Softbank phones though.
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Old Jun 18, 09, 6:04 am   #10
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chichow View Post

They have email addresses like blah@softbank.ne.jp

Does this sound right? My friend is not good with tech
Yes, the e-mail address sounds right. I have one of those too. You can send and receive e-mails on Japanese mobile phones. You can even attach photos too.
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Old Jun 18, 09, 12:21 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by kats View Post
Yes, the e-mail address sounds right. I have one of those too. You can send and receive e-mails on Japanese mobile phones. You can even attach photos too.
My friend on softbank gave me the wrong address. Now that is corrected, I can send emails and they can send back.

--

Just to confirm what was said earlier on this thread.

I CAN send SMS to my friend on softbank.
I can't get a reply back via SMS or what they are trying to use as SMS - I'm in the USA
There is a longer delay when sending to their email address on the phone versus just to their computer. This would confirm that softbank is pull instead of push email.
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Old Jun 18, 09, 6:50 pm   #12
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Almost all correct.

Not sure about Softbank's delay, but DoCoMo is immediate as with a computer. I cannot imagine such a direct and fierce competitor offering such an alternative.

Mike

Quote:
Originally Posted by chichow View Post
My friend on softbank gave me the wrong address. Now that is corrected, I can send emails and they can send back.

--

Just to confirm what was said earlier on this thread.

I CAN send SMS to my friend on softbank.
I can't get a reply back via SMS or what they are trying to use as SMS - I'm in the USA
There is a longer delay when sending to their email address on the phone versus just to their computer. This would confirm that softbank is pull instead of push email.
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Old Jun 19, 09, 3:58 pm   #13
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chichow View Post
My friend on softbank gave me the wrong address. Now that is corrected, I can send emails and they can send back.

--

Just to confirm what was said earlier on this thread.

I CAN send SMS to my friend on softbank.
I can't get a reply back via SMS or what they are trying to use as SMS - I'm in the USA
There is a longer delay when sending to their email address on the phone versus just to their computer. This would confirm that softbank is pull instead of push email.
Postpaid Softbank and docomo mobile users can send SMS to users of overseas mobile carriers (listed on their websites and they cover major carriers around the world).

Softbank charges 100 yen per message and docomo 50 yen when SMS is sent from Japan -- both rates are more than you need to pay for sending a postcard by snail mail to the U.S. from Japan.
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Old Jun 21, 09, 12:36 pm   #14
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chiangi View Post
Softbank charges 100 yen per message and docomo 50 yen when SMS is sent from Japan -- both rates are more than you need to pay for sending a postcard by snail mail to the U.S. from Japan.
True, but the SMS message generally gets there faster.
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Old Jun 24, 09, 10:55 pm   #15
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve M View Post
True, but the SMS message generally gets there faster.
You guys in the states are also charged more than you would pay for snail mail?
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