Sunday, October 25, 2015

Nexus 5X in Japan is expensive and carrier locked!!!


Android Authority wrote an article about how expensive the Nexus 5X in Japan is, even when bought directly from Google Store. But the high price is only one part of how much messed up Nexus 5X in Japan is. It is not even unlocked! A Nexus phone that is not unlocked must be never heard of.

Last week I paid a visit to the Biccamera to see if there were any nice deals on phones. The usual “iPhone 6 for free” deals were available, but the catch is that unless you use it for more than a year, you will have to pay a hefty penalty. I won’t be in Japan for another whole year so I gave up the idea. No new phone for me then.

But I didn't want to waste my trip, so I looked a round for new gadgets. There was the Nexus 5X on display and I was amazed by the price you would have to pay upfront. That cost will be massively discounted over the course of two years if you use MNP, but let's be realistic now. Who wants to use the same phone for 2 years? Well, I don't. So if you are switching carriers at mid point, you'll have to pay them back half of that hefty price. That comes about 80% to the value of a brand new Nexus 5X from Google Store. And you definitely don’t want to buy it with a new connection because then the phone will not be discounted. You will be paying a massive JPY 80,000 plus amount for the phone alone (for the 32GB model).

When I bought the Nexus 5, one of the things that made it my obvious choice was that it wasn't locked to any carrier. I have confirmed that it is truly unlocked because I could use a Telstra prepaid SIM in it on our trip to Australia early this month. I'm not sure why they have locked the Nexus 5X to The carrier especially when the price of the phone is massively inflated. This doesn't make sense because people won't buy it from Y-Mobile and switch to another carrier. If the phone was free or hugely subsidized (more than any penalties that you would have to pay for early termination of contract) then people would do this. But not with all these conditions. I don't even understand how they managed to get Google to go along with this stupid idea in the first place. Yes, you can get it unlocked after 6 months but you can get the iPhone 6S for the same price and it can be unlocked after 6 months too. There is no competition between the iPhone 6S and the Nexus 5X.

This is definitely a ploy by the carriers to trap customers in a 2 year plan. They should understand that more and more people are moving to MVNOs because they are much cheaper and do not lock you to a 2 year plan. MVNOs are more applicable in an age like this where circuit calls are not necessary. There are million VoIP clients which are much cheaper than the absurd circuit switched mobile call prices in Japan. 


You can buy the Nexus 6P, which is vastly superior to the Nexus 5X from the Google Store for JPY74,000 which is cheaper than buying the Nexus 5X from Y-Mobile. I don't know whether to laugh or cry now.  (Still you'll be paying about JPY10,000 more than the US price for it. Wonder if Expansys will be able to bring down these phones at a reasonable price. It is still unavailable as of writing this post.)

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