|Headquarters||Ryogoku, Sumida‐ku, Tokyo, Japan|
|Key people||Junji Tanabe, CEO
Kendi Kawai CEO
|Revenue||6.2 billion yen JPY (August 2009)|
|Employees||213 (November 2009)|
|Subsidiaries||ZIP Telecom Inc., Tupiniquim Entertainment Co., Ltd., Brastel Inc. (USA), Brastel Brasil Participações Ltda. (Brazil)|
Brastel Telecom ブラステル株式会社 or more commonly known as Brastel, is a Japanese telecommunications company based in Tokyo; they distribute international prepaid calling cards within Japan and Asia via convenience stores. Brastel's largest demographic are expats living in Japan and are one of the most commonly used calling services in Japan.
The company was started in 1996 originally selling call back services, in 2000 they release the first rechargeable calling card in Japan, it shortly becomes Brastel's biggest source of income. Recently they have started to invest in IP phone technology through their FLiP and Basix services.
They are also noted for their work in the Brazilian communities abroad for their involvement in the building of schools, providing seminars and lectures for the poorer and disadvantaged communities around the world.
The promotion of Brazilian culture in Japan has played a prominent part of Brastel since the creation of sub company Tupiniquim Entertainment in 2005. Tupiniquim Entertainment primarily concentrates on the promotion of Brazilian movies, music, actresses/actors and culture in Japan.
Brastel Telecom was formed in 1996 by Junji Tanabe and Kendi Kawai, which originally provided callback system services mainly to the Brazilian community in Japan. In 1998, an agreement with KDDI (formally KDD) allowed the company to acquire international connections from Japan. In 2000 Brastel released a rechargeable prepaid calling card called Brastel Card (formally Brastel Smartphone Card) and it was available for free in convenience stores and ethnic shops, restaurants and bars throughout Japan. Shortly after they introduced a paperless recharge system, Smart Pit, developed by NTT Comware. The Smart Pit system utilises a barcode printed on the back of the card allowing payments without coupons.
In 2002 Brastel went into agreements for use of the Japanese PSTN (Public Switched Telephone Network), which is controlled by the major carriers in Japan. This allowed the company to gain connections within Japan territory making it possible to the company to start offering their own direct prefix numbers. Shortly after, Brastel enters the American market pushing its services in California, USA targeting the Latino and Japanese communities.
The Internet Age
Entering into 2006 broadband internet has become the standard for home connections and with this increased bandwidth free calling services such as Skype, Google Talk and iChat emerge. To deal with this new form of communication Brastel had to diverge into new areas investing in online Live Support (Japan only launched in October), providing customers real-time assistance over the internet in both English and Japanese. During the same year they open an office in São Paulo, Brazil.
In January 2007, Brastel launches the FLIP service, an IP phone that allows customers to call domestic and international phones via the internet. Three months later, they launch Basix, an IP phone service designed for medium and small sized companies based on the ASP system. While FLiP is aimed at the home user, Basix is aimed at companies looking to replace or buy a PBX system.
In 2005 Brastel add a new cultural division, Tupiniquim Entertainment which primarily focuses on Brazilian culture. Tupiniquim Entertainment's main event is the Festival Cinema Brasil, a yearly event that showcases films from Brazil. This cultural division has also invited several musicians from Brazil to perform in Japan, as well as released CDs and DVDs of such artists in Japanese stores.
Brastel has a unique working culture considering it is a Japanese company, within the work environment employees are not required to wear a suit or tie, there are at least 3 main languages spoken: Portuguese, Japanese and English with many more spoken by the 15 or more different nationalities working there. Due to the large Brazilian work force many aspects of the company are tailored for Brazilians including a Brazilian lorry arriving twice a week with Brazilian food and goods. Also the employees can order a Brazilian bento every day which is delivered direct to the company.
In previous years the company has held an international food festival, everyone is encouraged to cook food from their home country and bring it into work to share.
The Brastel Card is the main product from Brastel, released in 2000 the card has gone through many iterations with the latest one released in November 2009 under the name of Brastel Card. Like prior cards it can be used to make national and international calls and be recharged via credit card, convenience stores or vouchers. In addition to the standard calling services Brastel also offer International Access to call from other countries, Credit Transfer, International Call Forwarding, International Recharge of mobile phones, IP Access and SMS text messages.
Alongside the standard calling features present in the Brastel Card, the card can now be linked to the FLiP service offered by Brastel. FLiP is the VoIP phone service sold by Brastel, the Brastel Card can be used for cheap international calls and for payment of monthly subscription fees and calling fees. In recent the FLIP and BASIX phones have become more a relevant in the survival of Brastel as a company, with the popularity of Skype, Brastel has had to face competition from free software with free calls. Their answer has been FLIP, a VoIP service with a monthly fee starting from ¥500 per month. With the current financial climate time will only tell if FLIP will turn out to be a success in the face of Skype and other free VoIP services.
- EMOBILE Limited
- United Nations World Food Programme
- American Airlines
- Planet Hollywood
- All Nippon Airways
- Philippine Airlines
- Philippine National Bank
- Thai Airways
- Korean Air
- Iraqi Airways
- Srilankan Airlines
- Malaysia Airlines
- The Daily Yomiuri
- Egypt Air
- The Japan Times
- Financial Times
- Pakistan International Airlines
- Air China
- Article on Nikkei BPnet (In Japanese)
- Article on Contact Center Info (In Japanese)
- Web Site Traffic
- News2U article about Brastel
- Sunday Times Sri Lanka article about Brastel
- Web Buyers Guide article
- Start Option article about Brastel
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