TOKYO -- Japan Post will start selling a low-cost smartphone package next month by using a mail order catalog distributed through its post office network.
The mail-services unit of Japan Post Holdings will work with Internet Initiative Japan, a major Internet service provider that also dabbles in the mobile telecom business. Once a customer orders the IIJ phone package from the catalog, Japan Post will deliver it using its Yu-Pack parcel service.
The handset will come with a SIM card installed for accessing IIJ's mobile telecommunications services. A plan with 3 gigabytes of data usage will be available for 2,980 yen ($29.07) a month. The handset will be priced at 32,800 yen. Japan Post will receive commissions based on the number of service contracts.
The 10-page or so catalog will tout a price advantage of some 3,000 yen a month compared with services offered by major carriers. A beginners guide -- made by handset supplier Fujitsu -- will come with the package. In addition, customers can get support from IIJ by dialing a dedicated number.
By cultivating demand from seniors and homemakers and taking advantage of 24,000 post office locations nationwide, the partners hope to sign up 1 million subscription contracts by 2020.