Project Stories The industry’s first effectively unlimited data capacity plan

Ultra Giga Monster

Ultra Giga Monster is a plan offering effectively unlimited data capacity that SoftBank released in 2017.
This interview investigates the unknown facts behind the creation of the plan, which has satisfied around 90% of customers and overturned the conventional wisdom of the industry.

Now it has become the norm for people to listen to music and view videos on their smartphones, and the scope of what can be done with smartphones keeps expanding. Under the circumstances, we had an awareness that the limited data capacity may have placed stress on our consumers.
SoftBank was quick to start solving the issue.
The resulting solution is Ultra Giga Monster, which was created bottom-up from employees in frontline operations.
This plan allows the use of up to 50 GB data at a flat rate, now attracting many customers.
SoftBank has overturned the industry’s conventional wisdom with this effectively unlimited data capacity plan.

  • Eri Watanabe

    Consumer Business Unit Product & Marketing Unit>
    MOBILE Business Division Business Planning Division
    Service Planning Department Service Planning Section 1
    2004 New Hire

  • Momoko Arakawa

    Consumer Business Unit Product & Marketing Unit
    MOBILE Business Division Business Planning Division
    Service Planning Department Service Planning Section 1
    2009 New Hire


    Consumer Business Unit Product & Marketing Unit
    Product & Marketing Strategy Division
    Business Management Division
    Business Management Section
    2015 New Hire

The project that surprised the industry started with ten employees

Episode.1 Customers’ real voice triggered the development of a new plan
Desire to change the status quo that failed to satisfy customers

In September 2018, SoftBank launched Ultra Giga Monster Plus, a new plan for smartphones mainly featuring a large data capacity. Ultra Giga Monster Plus enables the use of up to 50 GB data per month at a flat rate and allows unlimited use of applicable video services and SNS. As its predecessors, SoftBank released Giga Monster, which enables the use of up to 20 GB data at a flat rate, in 2016 and Ultra Giga Monster, which allows subscribers to use up to 50 GB data at a flat rate, in 2017, thereby surprising the industry. Takahiko Matsumoto, who was engaged in earnings simulation and other tasks to realize Ultra Giga Monster, talks about what had happened up to the launch of this project.

“As the ways to enjoy smartphones have expanded, a growing number of customers have become constantly worried about the limit of data capacity and speed limitation, making us concerned that such limitation of data capacity may have placed stress on customers. When Giga Monster was first launched, it became so popular that about half of our customers subscribed to the plan. Nevertheless, we have heard customers saying that they refrain from viewing videos when they go out and do not use applications when a Wi-Fi spot is unavailable. This means that customers cannot fully utilize SoftBank’s services and are unsatisfied with them. We thought this an unhappy state for both the customers and SoftBank. Under these circumstances, the idea of Ultra Giga Monster came bottom-up from employees in frontline operations.”

When the Ultra Giga Monster project was set out, Eri Watanabe was in the Sales Planning Department. She assumed sole responsibility for sales planning of the mobile business, coordinating and managing all processes from the drafting of project plans to operation. It was the role of Momoko Arakawa to translate ideas of the project that Watanabe and other members proposed at the management meeting into more detailed specifications. Arakawa examined specific contents of systems, customer services, shop operations, and points to note from the legal perspective, which were rarely discussed at the management meeting, and closely interacted with relevant responsible departments.

Episode.2 It took only two months from resolution on the project to release
Breathtaking speed to embody SoftBank’s corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution—Happiness for everyone”

“In order to implement a large capacity plan for satisfying customers, it was also necessary to reinforce our network facilities. To secure funds therefor, I conducted meticulous pricing even in units of 100 yen in earnings simulation. I kept thinking every day about how to strike a win-win balance between customers and SoftBank so that customers can feel the value of using SoftBank, while our company can secure enough earnings to maintain the services,” Matsumoto says, looking back on that time.

To embody Softbank’s corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution—Happiness for everyone,” and achieve customer satisfaction and happiness, in addition to project ideas, the speed of delivering them to the customers is also important. Despite of being a bottom-up project, Ultra Giga Monster was speedily released just around two months after the resolution on the project.

“I wanted customers to try a stress-free plan and considered the possibility of making another push. As a result, the Family Referral Campaign and the Enjoy Giga Campaign were added to the original plan immediately before its release. Designing the structure of plans and campaigns in a short time is of course tough, but rather I am always grateful to system departments for implementing them,” says Watanabe, who played a role in controlling the overall project, looking back on that time.

Arakawa was responsible for deciding on details and translating them into frontline operations. She remembers that the speedy progress of the project surprised the members working in the field. With the goal of satisfying customers, a small initiative that started with ten members has grown to become a big project involving many people.

Episode.3 The key to success is close collaboration between employees
Independence exercised because of a bottom-up project

Back in 2017, when Ultra Giga Monster was released, low capacity, inexpensive budget smartphones and the like have already been trending. Given the increasingly diversified customer needs, it has become a point of issue in discussions on the project whether SoftBank should shift its course to a large-capacity plan or a low-capacity inexpensive plan.

“As an increasing number of mobile phone operators were launching low-capacity budget plans, it took a lot of courage for SoftBank to release a large-capacity plan. We thought this a necessary plan to increase customer satisfaction, but we had no choice but to repeat surveys and predictions to figure out to what extent the plan would be accepted by customers. Inexpensiveness is not the only reason why customers choose a plan. Their preference cannot be measured simply by economic rationality. Predicting it was a challenge.”

Matsumoto says that he kept adjusting the project plan, while finding out various customer voices through round-table interview surveys and repeatedly doing trial calculations and revising its details each time from the original plan. As a result of the repeated trial calculations and interview surveys, the volume of the appendix materials prepared for weekly 30-munite management meetings exceeded 100 pages. Realizing an unprecedented plan in a short time required a huge amount of communication with related departments. Arakawa created a FAQ document for responding to internal inquiries and answered more than 100 questions per day sometimes. While responding to all the many questions and inquiries, Arakawa has never had difficulty in communication within the company.

“By making the full use of chat and other tools, I think I was able to keep in close and timely contact with relevant departments. When I had something to confirm, I immediately contacted and directly talked with members if they were in the head office, because I believe that holding a meeting is the best and fastest way to get everyone on the same page and avoid perception gaps.”

The Ultra Giga Monster project, to which the members gave every spare moment to swiftly realize the plan, has been supported by intensive communication among employees as well as their independence and speediness exercised because of a bottom-up project.

Episode.4 Pride and appreciation felt in the festive mood

In August 2018, at a press conference concerning its new services, SoftBank announced that around 70% of SoftBank users subscribe to the large-capacity plan. In addition, about 90% of the customers are satisfied with the plan. Given this, it can be said that Ultra Giga Monster has made a great success.

“We repeated trial calculations and predictions many times, but given that customers are much more satisfied than we expected, I feel that our hard work has borne fruit. I hear some customers saying that they now enjoy a stress-free experience when using their smartphones and no longer need to carefully control data use. In fact, the total data usage has also grown significantly. This plan has brought a happy result for both customers and SoftBank,” Matsumoto says with relief and smile on his face.

Watanabe talks about the meaning and joy of being involved in a big project that would directly impact the lives of customers in this way as follows.

I am genuinely pleased that the project planned bottom-up has won the admiration of customers and the results have been reflected in figures. In addition, it was good that revising the Everybody Family Discount plan in parallel by taking this opportunity has made SoftBank’s definition of family widely known to the public. We also reviewed the description of family on our official website, which had not been touched for more than ten years, and publicized again that distant relatives, close girlfriend or boyfriend, and peers living in the same shared house are all family members. Just at that time the same-sex partnership ordinance and other gender topics were in the news. That trend served as a spur to the project. It was great to let the public know the unique quality of Softbank at this timing.”

Following this, Arakawa talks about the pride gained through the job.

“I am happy and proud to be involved in the industry’s first projects, such as a large-capacity plan like Ultra Giga Monster. It is rewarding to be able to provide customers with a new service created from a company-wide initiative that cannot be achieved by a single department and to share the joy with my colleagues. At the same time, I think I am engaged in a great work that inspires a feeling of thankfulness.”

Engage in creating happiness through the industry’s first projects at SoftBank

SoftBank’s corporate philosophy, “Information Revolution—Happiness for everyone,” has permeated each and every employee. The underlying aim of this is always the happiness of customers using smartphones. And this philosophy continues to be realized. SoftBank will keep producing the industry’s first projects like Ultra Giga Monster from now on too. You are the next member who will deliver new projects to the world with independence, speed, and aspiration together with our employees.