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Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

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Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby parryh » Mon 03.26.2007 11:10 pm

Hi all,

First of all - I`m from the UK, and in the UK it`s possible to send text (SMS) messages between cellphones using just the cellphone number...

After recently moving to Japan, I got myself a Softbank cellphone last month. My impression is that if I want to send "S! Mail" (regular email) or "SMS" (text messages) to another cellphone in Japan, then I have to know that cellphone`s email address?

If I try to send SMS to a cellphone number, I get an error saying something like "Service not subscribed".

However - a friend in Kyoto sent me an SMS message a few weeks ago using just my cellphone number (not its email address) and when I viewed the message on my phone, it said it was from his telephone number - no email address was listed.
If I then replied, he got it OK. But I don`t think I can initiate an SMS conversation by just using a cellphone number.
I don`t know what kind of cellphone my Kyoto friend has, but he said that he is always able to send SMS messages to other cellphone numbers if he uses "Skymail".

Also - a friend in the UK has successfully sent me an SMS message from his UK cellphone, and I can reply to his SMS message OK using just his cellphone number.

Please can anyone clarify when / how it is possible to send SMS messages to Japanese cellphone numbers, and why it is only possible for me to do it if I`m replying to an SMS message? It`s very confusing!

Also - do you know if there`s some kind of upgrade / option I can get for my Softbank cellphone (I`m currently on the Double White Plan deal) so that I am able to initiate SMS conversations using just other cellphone numbers?

Thanks very much in advance for any clarification.

HP
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby hiwa » Mon 03.26.2007 11:45 pm

I think Skymail is a service from minor vendors like TuKa, JPhone and the like. Major cellphone vendors including NTTdocomo and Softbank enforce a separate account and charging system for Internet data use, email is one of them.

Usually, as a default, your freshly bought cellphone has only an account for telephone usage.
Last edited by hiwa on Mon 03.26.2007 11:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby Kagemaru » Tue 03.27.2007 12:04 am

Japanese SMS service is usually known as C-mail.

This is usually free between persons with the same carrier, and can be sent to any other person regardless of carrier at a charged rate, but unlike phone e-mail, cannot attach video, photo and has a text imput limit. It is also cheaper (in my case anyway) to send E-mail as opposed to C-mail.

On most phones, first find the phone number, go to options and the C-mail option should be there.

In terms of E-mail, if firstly your plan includes internet access, you have to set up an address first via a website the carrier will give you that you normally access through your phone. Most cases, the dealer at the shop can do all of that for you.

Hope that cleared it up a little.
Last edited by Kagemaru on Tue 03.27.2007 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby hiwa » Tue 03.27.2007 1:06 am

Kagemaru wrote:
Japanese SMS service is usually known as C-mail.

This is usually free between persons with the same carrier, and can be sent to any other person regardless of carrier at a charged rate, but unlike phone e-mail, cannot attach video, photo and has a text imput limit. It is also cheaper (in my case anyway) to send E-mail as opposed to C-mail.

On most phones, first find the phone number, go to options and the C-mail option should be there.

In terms of E-mail, if firstly your plan includes internet access, you have to set up an address first via a website the carrier will give you that you normally access through your phone. Most cases, the dealer at the shop can do all of that for you.

Hope that cleared it up a little.

For Japanese SMS or similar services, the description can't be that simple. I don' t want to even try one in a brief period of time. If you have PC, don't do mail on cellphone. It's a blatant exploit on user-consumers.
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby keatonatron » Tue 03.27.2007 8:57 am

Kagemaru wrote:
Japanese SMS service is usually known as C-mail.


You have AU, right? :D

Au calls it C-mail, J-Phone used to call it Skymail, and Docomo calls it SMS.

I think answers for the OP are here, but it's kind of hard to see them.

To recap:

There are two types of e-mail available to every phone. E-mail and SMS-like mail.

E-mail can go anywhere (compare with AOL, MSN, or Yahoo e-mail).
SMS can only be sent to someone within the same system (compare to AIM, MSN Messenger, or Yahoo Messenger's instant messages)

E-mail requires an e-mail address, SMS requires a phone number.

E-mail and SMS are both extra options that can be turned on and off. If the person you are trying to send a message to does not have a softbank phone and/or has SMS turned off for some reason, you will get that error. The default settings and prices vary by company, but in my experience most everyone can do SMS by default.
Last edited by keatonatron on Tue 03.27.2007 8:57 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby two_heads_talking » Tue 03.27.2007 10:40 am

once again, a country as small as Japan tries to make it more difficult by not conforming to one service ..
Last edited by two_heads_talking on Tue 03.27.2007 10:40 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby keatonatron » Tue 03.27.2007 11:30 am

PASMO!
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby PsychoSP » Tue 03.27.2007 12:08 pm

... is just one example. I don't think nonconformity is among Japan's biggest problems.
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby richvh » Tue 03.27.2007 12:15 pm

This is, after all, the same country that gave VHS and Betamax.
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RE: Text messaging in Japan - confusion?

Postby PsychoSP » Tue 03.27.2007 1:04 pm

... and most people my age have never heard of Betamax.
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