KDDI to Launch EV-DO with Unlimited Data Plan
By Eric Lin, Wed Oct 22 22:15:00 GMT 2003

Next month, KDDI will launch the first unlimited data tariff in Japan. When KDDI launches their new CDMA 1x EV-DO network, users will be able to log on all they want for JPY 4,200 (about USD 38). No other carriers have an unlimited data plan, nor will any be able to match the KDDI's speed as of yet, even "real world" data speed.

DoCoMo's FOMA (based on WCDMA) has a maximum speed of 384 kbps but sees a real world throughput of about 200 kbps. KDDI claims their implementation of 1x EV-DO has a maximum speed of 2.4 mbps, but real world results of EV-DO in the US are about 330 kpbs and SK Telecom claims a real world throughput of 700 kbps for their Korean EV-DO network.

To compare EV-DO rates around the globe: at about USD 40 for unlimited data, KDDI halves Verizon's rate of USD 80 for equal speed. When SK Telecom launched their EV-DO network, they offered a few months of unlimited data for about USD 20 per month, but could not sustain the losses of such a low price. The average EV-DO user in South Korea now spends about $22 on data.

KDDI has not claimed the price of their new unlimited gold plan is a limited time offer, so we can only assume it will be a long standing price. They will still offer pay as you go plans, but considering the price and the typical data usage of a Japanese customer, it's likely these will quickly fall out of vogue. The same has certainly happened for high usage customers of T-Mobile's US network, who just pay USD 20 for unlimited GPRS rather than rates almost as high for a small bucket of megabytes.