Japanese phones, WiFi & walkie-talkies: the definitive guide

Undies

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Have been trying to use a Pu Puru dongle on the Docomo network for the last few weeks. Have been in Hakuba and found it largely useless most of the time, as speeds have been appalling. Cannot even run a speedtest.

Hotel wifi at 35mbs in the lobby has been ok though, and some members of our crew have opted to pay Telstra their extortionate data package fees which have seen them using their Aus 4g phones on the uber-fast network here with great success. Next time that is what I'll be doing!
 

JoeKing

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Hey, I'm one of those pay-thru-the-nose suckers!

At fatboy's place wifi was throughout the whole joint :woohoo: except the baths in the basement. Which is prolly a good thing. :evil:

Over at shiga however, that so-called 5 star concrete bunker of a hotel (j/k) has a shared open, unsecured wifi access point in the lobby where the signal is contained. Of course everyone's on it during daylight hours with skype, fb youtube. Bhhhaaa! A place like that -should- have wifi throughout by now.

The hotel hallway is longer than my morning snow tossle, so no hope of wifi in the room. So roaming 3g stands.

Has anyone else noticed how 'heavy' speedtest.net is now?
 

Donza

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Undies said:
Have been trying to use a Pu Puru dongle on the Docomo network for the last few weeks. Have been in Hakuba and found it largely useless most of the time, as speeds have been appalling. Cannot even run a speedtest.

Hotel wifi at 35mbs in the lobby has been ok though, and some members of our crew have opted to pay Telstra their extortionate data package fees which have seen them using their Aus 4g phones on the uber-fast network here with great success. Next time that is what I'll be doing!
Strange my friends had positive reviews of the purupuru at hakuba
 

Sandy

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I spotted some 3G WiFi devices at Akihabara yesterday that are unlocked. Looks like they cost 2900 yen, and can be used with the B-mobile (DoCoMo) prepaid SIMs. Might be an option. If you choose the B-mobile visitor SIM it's limited to 300kb/s, or some of the others can get up to 7.5Mb/s
 

Undies

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Strange my friends had positive reviews of the purupuru at hakuba
Yeah, it's weird. Now that I've just bagged it on here, I'm able to get my first meaningful connection since I got the thing. Perhaps it's just a temperamental device.
 
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Avon_Barksdale

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Yeah, it's weird. Now that I've just bagged it on here, I'm able to get my first meaningful connection since I got the thing. Perhaps it's just a temperamental device.
I used the pupuru LTE pocket wifi on emobile while I was in Nozawa for a month. I never saw LTE on it anywhere. Including central Tokyo. 3G was fine in Nozawa. It was fast enough to do everything I needed but as soon as we went down the road to Iiyama we lost reception altogether.
 

azzski

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Used the Global Advanced Comms pocket device - strong connection everywhere, mostly 3G in Niseko but LTE throughout Tokyo. Worth the expense.
 

Donza

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Used the Global Advanced Comms pocket device - strong connection everywhere, mostly 3G in Niseko but LTE throughout Tokyo. Worth the expense.
Will do this. Their plans are heaps better , Cheers
 

azzski

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Will do this. Their plans are heaps better , Cheers
No idea if there was a difference between their devices, but we were all using the 75mbps version. We had a few of them in our crew, all the devices were different but all worked equally well.
 

Born2ski

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Just back from Japan so thought I'd pass on our phone experience.

We just took our prepaid Vodafone Aussie phones operating on the 2100MHz 3G frequency. Phones were able to use Soft bank or DoCoMo service in Japan, most of the time I just left mine on Softbank. No problems at all in Tokyo. Also visited Myoko, Madarao and Nozawa and can report the coverage was pretty good in all three areas. There were a few black spots over the mountains where you'd get drop outs but for the most part the coverage was good.

Now we only used our phones for text messages and emergency calls which made this method cost effective but if you need to make a lot of calls I wouldn't take this path since making and receiving long calls would be expensive.
 

Born2ski

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Found this company in Japan that offers FREE Japanese mobile phone rental and FREE Japanese sim rental.

https://www.mobalnarita.com/

What's the catch I here you ask. Well don't make too many out going calls or you'll have a large bill at the end.
 

skichanger

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Found this company in Japan that offers FREE Japanese mobile phone rental and FREE Japanese sim rental.

https://www.mobalnarita.com/

What's the catch I here you ask. Well don't make too many out going calls or you'll have a large bill at the end.
Will have to check it out. I currently have a Softbank phone. I have made 2 calls on it. But it is useful for when other people want to contact me and I have had a lot more incoming calls. Costs me 3,000 yen a year to keep the number active.
 

Sandy

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More options for data SIMs.

So-net.
They have Prepaid data SIMs, for LTE. However, the LTE data SIMs will work in a 3G only device.

Available in standard SIM, micro SIM & nano SIM.

I've tested one (bought for a friend), a Micro SIM, in an Android device via a SIM holder for micro SIM.

1. For Android devices, configure APN:
- APN: so-net.jp
- Username: nuro
- Password: nuro
- Authentication type: CHAP or PAP
Then go to the website to activate (this works via the SIM/3G/LTE without need for another device)
www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/a/
Input SIM phone number & password


I also did it in an iPad2 with the micro SIM:
2. You need a wireless LAN to do this. It downloads an APN configuration via this site:
www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/i/
Input SIM phone number & password


The SIM with prepaid:
- 100MB, for 30 days, up to 150Mbps, 3000yen
- 500MB, for 60 days, up to 150Mbps, 5000 yen

Recharging:

charge 200M charge 500M charge 1G
1,500 yen
(excl. tax) 2,000 yen
(excl. tax) 2,838 yen
(excl. tax)
30 days 30 days 60 days
This is done via CC. I tried to skip the CC input, but it didn't work so the system had my CC details, making it easy to recharge via their website.

Available at MANY retail outlets.


Details here:
http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/

Pay attention to the frequency bands, but most common 3G is 2100MHz
 
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Sandy

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I see that ToCoo! has a good pocket WiFi deal, only 3696 yen($39) for 9-30 days rental. So if you did a 30 day trip that's about $1.30 a day !
Includes unlimited data.

http://wifi.tocoo.jp/en/

There's two ways to read that:

9-30 days is 3696 + tax, + reg & post = 5612 yen = $197 /day

540 yen registration, plus 1080 yen to post.

Or:

First 8 days = 3192 yen PLUS 3696 yen 9-30 days, (plus tax) = 7439 + reg & post = 9059 yen
That's about $3.20/day.

That's still good!!
 
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Sandy

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More options for data SIMs.

So-net.
They have Prepaid data SIMs, for LTE. However, the LTE data SIMs will work in a 3G only device.

Available in standard SIM, micro SIM & nano SIM.

I've tested one (bought for a friend), a Micro SIM, in an Android device via a SIM holder for micro SIM.

1. For Android devices, configure APN:
- APN: so-net.jp
- Username: nuro
- Password: nuro
- Authentication type: CHAP or PAP
Then go to the website to activate (this works via the SIM/3G/LTE without need for another device)
www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/a/
Input SIM phone number & password


I also did it in an iPad2 with the micro SIM:
2. You need a wireless LAN to do this. It downloads an APN configuration via this site:
www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/i/
Input SIM phone number & password


The SIM with prepaid:
- 100MB, for 30 days, up to 150Mbps, 3000yen
- 500MB, for 60 days, up to 150Mbps, 5000 yen

Recharging:

charge 200M charge 500M charge 1G
1,500 yen
(excl. tax) 2,000 yen
(excl. tax) 2,838 yen
(excl. tax)
30 days 30 days 60 days
This is done via CC. I tried to skip the CC input, but it didn't work so the system had my CC details, making it easy to recharge via their website.

Available at MANY retail outlets.


Details here:
http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/

Pay attention to the frequency bands, but most common 3G is 2100MHz

BTW, the So-Net deal, there's a better way to do it. Instead of:

The SIM with prepaid:
- 100MB, for 30 days, up to 150Mbps, 3000yen
- 500MB, for 60 days, up to 150Mbps, 5000 yen

Don't choose the second one, choose the first:
- 100MB, for 30 days, up to 150Mbps, 3000yen
Then recharge:
- 1GB, 60 days up to 150Mbps, 3065 yen

= 1.1GB, 60 days up to 150Mbps, 6065 yen
 

hatto

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More options for data SIMs.

So-net.
They have Prepaid data SIMs, for LTE. However, the LTE data SIMs will work in a 3G only device.

Available in standard SIM, micro SIM & nano SIM.

I've tested one (bought for a friend), a Micro SIM, in an Android device via a SIM holder for micro SIM.

1. For Android devices, configure APN:
- APN: so-net.jp
- Username: nuro
- Password: nuro
- Authentication type: CHAP or PAP
Then go to the website to activate (this works via the SIM/3G/LTE without need for another device)
www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/a/
Input SIM phone number & password


I also did it in an iPad2 with the micro SIM:
2. You need a wireless LAN to do this. It downloads an APN configuration via this site:
www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/i/
Input SIM phone number & password


The SIM with prepaid:
- 100MB, for 30 days, up to 150Mbps, 3000yen
- 500MB, for 60 days, up to 150Mbps, 5000 yen

Recharging:

charge 200M charge 500M charge 1G
1,500 yen
(excl. tax) 2,000 yen
(excl. tax) 2,838 yen
(excl. tax)
30 days 30 days 60 days
This is done via CC. I tried to skip the CC input, but it didn't work so the system had my CC details, making it easy to recharge via their website.

Available at MANY retail outlets.


Details here:
http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/

Pay attention to the frequency bands, but most common 3G is 2100MHz
Hi Sandy
Being the Techtard I am, If I was to get this so-net, I could then make that device a hotspot and connect other devices?
 
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mannyk

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This may have covered here , sorry if it has. One of my biggest fears while in Tokyo was being separated from each other,with us not really knowing where we are. If i had a way of contacting her Id be much more relaxed. Here I would text her or vice versa using our s3 galaxy phones.
Reading the thread I get the idea that I can purchase a sim card for approx, $30 + in Tokyo. That we can put on our phones?
Or any other ideas,
The apart, we are renting for 6 days after the snow comes with a mobile wifi, so maps will be ok then Im assuming.
Trying to keep it simple for my simple mind.
 
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Jamesc

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Just enable global roaming, turn your data off and pay the 75c for a text message on the odd occasion you need it.
You can get plenty of free wifi around tokyo at various cafes and shops.
 

mannyk

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Just enable global roaming, turn your data off and pay the 75c for a text message on the odd occasion you need it.
You can get plenty of free wifi around tokyo at various cafes and shops.
thanks james,who am I paying 75 c to, a purchased sim card?
 

mannyk

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Yes I found that last trip with the wifi, we will have the portable wifi, while in Tokyo so all should be good. The sms is going to be a great help, It will help me relax a bit. First time in Tokyo was a bit rabbit in head lights, Thats why a wanted to go again,hopefully absorb more now that I know a little more of where I am and also having a little experience with the trains, really looking forward to our trip. 20 days this time, 6 days in Tokyo to finish.
:cheers:
 

Born2ski

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This may have covered here , sorry if it has. One of my biggest fears while in Tokyo was being separated from each other,with us not really knowing where we are. If i had a way of contacting her Id be much more relaxed. Here I would text her or vice versa using our s3 galaxy phones.
Reading the thread I get the idea that I can purchase a sim card for approx, $30 + in Tokyo. That we can put on our phones?
Or any other ideas,
The apart, we are renting for 6 days after the snow comes with a mobile wifi, so maps will be ok then Im assuming.
Trying to keep it simple for my simple mind.

I'd just use your Aussie sim and phone like we did.

Just back from Japan so thought I'd pass on our phone experience.

We just took our prepaid Vodafone Aussie phones operating on the 2100MHz 3G frequency. Phones were able to use Soft bank or DoCoMo service in Japan, most of the time I just left mine on Softbank. No problems at all in Tokyo. Also visited Myoko, Madarao and Nozawa and can report the coverage was pretty good in all three areas. There were a few black spots over the mountains where you'd get drop outs but for the most part the coverage was good.

Now we only used our phones for text messages and emergency calls which made this method cost effective but if you need to make a lot of calls I wouldn't take this path since making and receiving long calls would be expensive.
 

Sandy

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Just received an email from bmobile on their new product data and voice SIM called PAYG. Not cheap @ ¥9,980 for 3GB and 60 min call. Valid only for 7 days or 60 min whichever comes first.

http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/payg_sim/product.html

Yes, that's new, but unfortunately, it's not such a useful combo.

I'd like to see one that's, say, 1.5G, 30 min calls, and 20 days for around 5000 yen. If they had that, it would be VERY popular!!!!

At least they are heading in the right direction!!!!! ;)
 

Chondro

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Guys, looking for a pocket wifi again that will cover well in Hokkaido.

Used econnectjapan.com last time i was over there, can get for 9741 yen for 15 days with unlimited data.

Anyone got any other suggestions?
 

Sandy

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Guys, looking for a pocket wifi again that will cover well in Hokkaido.

Used econnectjapan.com last time i was over there, can get for 9741 yen for 15 days with unlimited data.

Anyone got any other suggestions?

econnect have some newer deals coming by next week for data SIMs, and they have a bigger selection of WiFi device options including LTE(4G), which is 100yen/day more expensive than the 3G service.
 

Sandy

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Since people will start to head in to Japan in next month or two, it's worthwhile summarising the prepaid options available for mobile phone SIMs. Make sure your phone is SIM unlocked

Voice only:
- Still Softbank prepaid, and only available to residents in Japan.

Data SIMS:

Bmobile:
- B-mobile. Slow 300kbs service "Visitor SIM" 14 days. English support available, pre-activated. 1G.
- B-mobile. Faster 3G service, 30 days. Japanese support only, must be activated with a Japanese mobile phone.
- Only available as a delivery to an address, although some small shops in Akihabara on sell them

So-net:
http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/#plan
Fast LTE/4G service (able to use SIM in 3G phone, with 3G service) . Prepaid plans have changed. Previously, they were 100Mbs, 500Mbs & 1Gbs, now they are 1Gbs, 2.2Gbs & 3Gbs (30day, 30day, 60day) Cost is 3000yen, 4000yen, 5000yen including SIM. Need a credit card, and can be recharged: 1G around 3000 yen.
Available retail at the following places:
Looks like some of these locations have a vending machine(at left):
photo_11.jpg

Make sure you know the right SIM size.

Check you phone to make sure you can use the service:
  • LTE (Xi®): Band 1 (2100 MHz)/Band 19 (800 MHz)/Band 21 (1500 MHz)/Band 3 (1800 MHz, only some areas)
  • W-CDMA (FOMA®): Band 1 (2100MHz)/Band 19 (800MHz)

econnect:
https://www.econnectjapan.com/products/sim/
- Faster 3G, available 1Gbs, 3Gbs (or slow unlimited), cost is 4700yen, 4100yen, 4100yen.
Only available as a delivery to an address(Hotel, residence, airport in JApan), but can be pre-ordered from overseas.


IMO, the so-net convenience is the best option.
 

bullet

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Thanks Sandy, helpful as always.

Just to check though heres my phones specs, does it need to use all The band types to work?

  • CDMA:
    • 800, 1900 MHz
  • GSM:
    • 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
  • UMTS:
    • 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
  • FDD LTE:
    • 700 (band 13) MHz
  • Data:
    • LTE, HSDPA+ (4G) 21.1 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, EV-DO Rev.A
I assume 4g will not work in Japan(telstra phone) but will 3g still operate fine?
 

Sandy

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Thanks Sandy, helpful as always.

Just to check though heres my phones specs, does it need to use all The band types to work?

  • CDMA:
    • 800, 1900 MHz
  • GSM:
    • 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz
  • UMTS:
    • 850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz
  • FDD LTE:
    • 700 (band 13) MHz
  • Data:
    • LTE, HSDPA+ (4G) 21.1 Mbit/s, HSUPA 5.76 Mbit/s, UMTS, EDGE, GPRS, EV-DO Rev.A
I assume 4g will not work in Japan(telstra phone) but will 3g still operate fine?

Yes, 3g (UMTS) will on 2100 Mhz. You only need one channel to work for data.
 

Chondro

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Went with econnect japan again, and the 3g option
1gb data wasnt enough as i want to watch hte nhl replays each night
 

Lucky Pete

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Sandy et al. Is there prepaid data and voice SIMs similar to Australia with quite a lot of data and minutes for calling? I have a Samsung Galaxy 5 that I'd prefer to keep using if possible. Failing that happy to buy a cheap phone in Tokyo on Thursday.
 

Sandy

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Sandy et al. Is there prepaid data and voice SIMs similar to Australia with quite a lot of data and minutes for calling? I have a Samsung Galaxy 5 that I'd prefer to keep using if possible. Failing that happy to buy a cheap phone in Tokyo on Thursday.

There are NO prepaid options with both data & voice calls.
While you can get prepaid data SIMs easily as a non resident, you cannot get a voice SIM or voice SIM + phone, EXCEPT from Softbank Roppongi.
Get the data SIM from So-net, and make sure your Samsung is unlocked!! ;)
 

Sandy

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One other option for data SIMs:

https://t.iijmio.jp/en/index.html

3790yen in BicCamera. Also available in Yodobashi Camera, Sofmap, Aeon retail. Easy & immediate activation.

2G of data, 3 months, LTE/4G up to 150Mbps.

It includes a "Brastel Card", which you use to top up the SIM. As I understand it, the 3 months is NOT extendable.
 

HoopDogg

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If you are in Australia join Vodafone Red plan cost $5 per day (only when you use it ) and you get same call rates as back home . No brainer !

What about for your data?
I assume it would be the normal roaming conditions (which conveniently fall outside the cap)
 

Nozawaman

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It is whatever you have on your plan , mine is 3 gig . For me voice has always been more important than data ,my plan also has unlimited txt . I can use home wifi of an evening , so the 3 gig is more than enough to check mail etc .
Coverage is fantastic I live halfway up a mountain and have 4 bars of reception .
 

HoopDogg

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Nice,
I'm actually on a red plan too, but never took any notice of the $5 international thing cos I thought there would be a sting hidden in there somewhere.
Last time I did similar to what u said, just waited until night and called off the wifi using apps like viber
 
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