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“Second ketai” for young people, for chatting between lovers

7, 25. 2008

   While the age of "one ketai (mobile phone) for every one person" is coming, some point out that the mobile phone market has already been saturated. However, the number of the people centering on young ones who buy a second mobile phone, "second ketai," is gradually increasing. Especially, a survey shows that 30% of the people who bought the iPhones, which were just put on the market recently, bought them as their "second ketai." One ketai for one person seems to be adequate, but it makes one wonder for what the ketai bought by those who already have one is used.

Fee for talking with girl friend topped 20,000 yen

Many may be using iPhone as “second ketai”
Many may be using iPhone as “second ketai”

   According to a survey on the "trend of the use of communications" conducted and announced by the Internal Affairs and Communications Ministry in April 2008, mobile phones are used 73.9% of the entire Japanese people on an individual basis. On the basis of age groups, however, the percentages were 96.7% for the people aged between 20 and 29 years, 94.3% for those between 30 and 39, and 93.7% for those between 40 and 49. This indicated that almost all people had at least one ketai each and that the keitai market has already been saturated.

   Against this background, the selling of the mobile phone made by the U.S. company Apple, the iPhone, which started just on July 11, 2008, drew the attention to the use of second ketai by the people.

   According to a survey conducted and announced on July 10, 2008, by the research company Netasia Co. , of Minato Ward, Tokyo, on the iPhone, 30.8% of the people who planned to buy iPhones replied to the survey that they were planning to buy as their second ketai. The people planning to buy iPhone were asked for multiple replies to chose about the aspects of the iPhone they were most attracted. The highest percentage of them (92.3%) replied they were attracted by the "musical player function." It was followed in order by "design" and "touch panel."

   It seems, however, that the use of ketai as a second mobile phone was becoming somewhat popular even before the iPhone was introduced to the market. Willcom, Inc., the operator of PHS business, began offering the "fixed price system for vocal-based communications" in 2005, while SoftBank Mobile launched the "White Plan" under which the calls among SoftBank mobile phones could be made without any extra charge on the top of the monthly basic fee of 980 yen between 1 a.m. and 9 p.m. These offers spurred the popularization of the use of second ketai.

   A 19-year-old male student who lives in Tokyo who had a DoCoMo mobile phone as his "first ketai" bought a SoftBank Mobile phone in December 2007 as his second ketai. He explained why he bought the second ketai:

"The cost performance was the first reason. The fee for the DoCoMo phone went up over twenty thousand yen after talking with my girl friend. I could no longer afford it. That's why I bought a SoftBank phone that let me take advantage of the white plan."

   It is possible that not few users of mobile phones would buy a second ketai for use as a "hotline between lovers" without switching over to mobile phone of different companies by taking advantage of the MNP (number portability) system.

Different numbers for different partners

   Daisuke Fujikawa, associate professor at the education faculty of the Chiba University who wrote the "Ketai Sekai no Kodomotachi (children in the Ketai world)" (published by Kodansha Gendaishinsho), said:

"I have heard of some cases where (the users) concluded contracts with Willcom and SoftBank for making calls between lovers."

   Fujikawa himself is a "heavy user of ketai" who owns three phones for vocal communications and another one for data communications. He is one of them who has the "second" and "third" keita, although the reason is not for that of the "hotline."

   "Generally, the reason for owning more than one ketai could be for using different numbers for calls or addresses for texting for different partners," he said.

   He also stressed the strong points of having more than one ketai by saying:

"There is not one keitai which has all the functions, such as GPS and 1seg, ketai billfold and full keyboard. There are some strong and weak points about the carriers, such as the communication speed, the size of the service area and offering of fixed rate system. So, while keeping the cost as low as possible, (I am) using more than one carrier and more than one keitai."

   Fujikawa is one of them who bought the iPhone as a second ketai.

"iPhone can be used for listening to music. But it's nothing new. But its decisive attractiveness is that it is easy to operate. It makes me happy just to have it in my hand,"

he said.

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