What is the difference between SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air? ※English only

Opportunities to use optical fiber are increasing, including 5G, which is becoming popular in the future, as well as work and hobbies at home. In this article, I thought about whether SoftBank Hikari or SoftBank Air is recommended when using the Internet at home. In this article, I will introduce the comparison and advantages and disadvantages of both. Please read this article and start a comfortable Internet life.

Difference between SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air

The biggest difference between SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air is that the same wireless LAN (Wi-Fi) is an optical line and 4G LTE. Optical lines provide stable speed, and 4G LTE lines have high responsiveness. SoftBank Air excels in terms of handiness. Here, we will introduce the differences between the two services.

ItemSoftBank HikariSoftbank Air
Constructionnecessaryunnecessary
Opening periodabout 1 monthOpen on the same day
Communication methodoptical line4G LTE
Wireless LAN(Wi-Fi)need a wireless routerready to use
Maximum communication speed(down speed)1Gbps350Mbps/962Mbps(some areas)


Presence or absence of communication work

As SoftBank Air arrives and can be used immediately, there is no construction required. Depending on the contract, SoftBank Hikari may or may not require construction. If there is no construction, the wireless router will be delivered by mail, so set it by yourself while referring to the manufacturer’s instructions and homepage. The wireless router is also set by yourself.


Difference between SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air

ItemSoftBank HikariSoftBank HikariSoftBank Hikari
SoftBank Air
Line type (before transfer)※1 collaboration Hikari※2 Flets Hikarino line usage/other

Constructionunnecessaryunnecessarynecessary
None
NTT equipment(ONU)Pick up by mailPick up by mailRep installed
None
Wireless LAN(Wi-Fi)Customer installed(optical BB unit)Customer installed(optical BB unit)Customer installed(optical BB unit)
Air terminal
Change procedureGet business change numberGet diversion numberNone
None
Before opening(Wi-Fi rental)NoneNoneYes SoftBank Air or Pocket Wi-Fi

※1 Collaboration Hikari (Hikari Collaboration) is a service model in which NTT sells opticalfiber to operators such as providers and mobile carriers. If you check the contract, you can see if your contract is collaboration Hikari or FLET’S Hikari.

※2 FLET’S Hikari is the name of NTT’s optical line service.

communication speed(Softbank Air vs Hikari)

The speeds of SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air are quite different. SoftBank Air is a best effort type and does not guarantee communication speed.


Fee system(Softbank Air vs Hikari)

Compare the prices of SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air. In addition to the monthly charge for SoftBank Air, the air terminal cost of the main unit (59,400 yen / 1,650 yen x 36 months) is charged. In the case of SoftBank Hikari, if there is a face to face construction, it will be charged a total of 24,000 yen. There is no need to purchase a terminal like SoftBank Air.

ItemMonthly fee(housing complex)Monthly fee(a house)
SoftBank Hikari3,800円5,200円
SoftBank Air4,880円(Except Air terminal)


Which one should you choose?(Softbank Air vs Hikari)

I would like to think about whether to select SoftBank Hikari or SoftBank Air. Each has its advantages and disadvantages, so I think it’s best to choose the one that suits you best.

Select SoftBank Hikari

SoftBank Hikari has a fast and stable line speed, so it is suitable for people who frequently download large capacity movies, apps, and games. Construction work is required for new people who will open the line, but changing from Collaboration Hikari or FLET’S Hikari will only require the installation of equipment, so there will be no hassle. You can select the budget and functions of various wireless routers from various manufacturers, so you can create an internet environment that suits your needs.


Select SoftBank Air

Since SoftBank Air is a 4G LTE line, it is very fast in places with good line conditions. The experience speed is similar to that of a carrier’s smartphone, so it may feel as fast as or faster than an optical line. On the other hand, SoftBank Air is not stable, so it is not suitable for slowing down at night or downloading large amounts (depending on your area).
Instead, SoftBank Air has the convenience of being used as soon as it arrives, without the need for construction or complicated settings. If you are moving and do not have the time to connect the optical line and want to connect to the Internet immediately, we recommend SoftBank Air.

Summary(Softbank Air vs Hikari)

So far, I have compared SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air. Basically, both provide services by borrowing NTT’s optical line / 4G LTE service, so the reality is that the communication area and quality do not change so much.

The reason NTT lends lines to other carriers in this way comes from the work of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to promote fair competition. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has proposed a charge discount for mobile carriers, each company has announced its original price experience, and the entry of a new telecommunications carrier called Rakuten Mobile has begun.

In this way, we anticipate that the telecommunications industry in the future will undergo great competition, including 5G lines. As a user who actually uses the line, I think that it will be difficult to choose, but first of all, I basically want to secure stable communication and minimum speed (downstream 25 Mbps ~ 30 Mbps).

However, SoftBank Hikari is not such a low number and should easily exceed 100Mbps, so it seems that you are using the latest equipment. In addition, when using SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air, using a newer computer will greatly improve comfort, so even if the line is a little slow, it may be manageable. Regional factors are the biggest reason why both lines do not always achieve the desired speed.

If you are away from the base station, the minimum speed will come out because you are using a physical optical fiber for the optical line, but in the case of SoftBank Air using wireless communication, it is inevitable depending on the location. It may become stable. Therefore, first of all, it is necessary to take measures such as returning it if it is useless during the trial period or making a rental contract and using it for a while. Although SoftBank Air has the advantage that it can be easily purchased and installed, it is also necessary to know that there are such disadvantages.


Perhaps, in the future, we expect that 5G lines will become popular, and products such as SoftBank Air that use 5G lines will definitely come out. Then, due to the nature of 5G radio waves, this time it will target a narrower range than 4G LTE, so it is necessary to pay particular attention to the location of the house. At present, 5G is limited to major stadiums and facilities, but since Japan has the highest national coverage of 4G LTE in the world, it is expected that the 5G network will steadily spread throughout the country in the future. In this way, if you make a slight understanding of the differences in communication between SoftBank Hikari and SoftBank Air, you can make good choices even in the future of the 5G era. Please use this article as a reference to build a comfortable Internet environment. Thank you for reading to the end.

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