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ScoobyDoobyBoob
April 11th, 2014, 16:30
So, I'm kind of a dork and love having the newest versions of things, and my phone choice for the past few years has been the iPhone (don't judge me). That being said, rumors point to a new iPhone release in the fall of this year, so I really don't want to commit to a 2 year contract in August, and then the new phone is comes out the next month.

So I've been researching all the options I have for staying connected and holding off for the new iPhone. Some things I've considered:

1. Taking my iPhone over to Japan as is, getting a pocket wifi thing for just about everything and a cheap little prepaid phone for actual calls/texts.

2. Selling my current phone here in the states, going to Japan and buying an unlocked phone with the cash I got from the old phone, using that with a DoCoMo/Bmobile service until the new model comes out, sell that, and sign a contract for the new phone.

3. Trading my current iPhone out with someone for an unlocked Sprint model (which has the right bands for LTE and all that), take it over to Japan and use it with Bmobile until the new phone comes out.


I was wondering: does anyone have any suggestions on what would be the best bet? I'm leaning towards option 1 at the moment because I feel that would be the most hassle free (even though carrying two things around at once can be annoying). Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Currently I have an AT&T iPhone 5s, so I'm pretty sure it's a no-go for Japan even if I get it unlocked, but if I'm mistaken please let me know.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
April 11th, 2014, 16:42
... I understood about 3% of what you just wrote, but do have a relevant question - how long are you planning to stay here?

ScoobyDoobyBoob
April 11th, 2014, 16:53
Sorry about that lol. Barring a mental breakdown, I'm thinking at least 2 years. Got friends and a girlfriend there so there's definitely more to it than just the teaching aspect, although I'm really excited about it.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
April 11th, 2014, 16:56
Ha, no problem - I'm useless when it comes to technology, but it seemed like a pertinent question that might help someone else give you some advice a little easier once they see the thread - I don't know what it will be like for you, but there were a hell of a lot of new contract questions for me when I arrived here and started getting set up that relied a lot on you being able to say roughly how long you expected to be here, and those included the ones for my phone.

Good luck with it!

therealwindycity
April 11th, 2014, 16:58
You could also try to buy the contract of your predecessor or someone in the area and then upgrade when the new iphone comes out. Not sure about AU but it's doable for softbank at least. The only catch is that you have to be able to go to a softbank store together.

http://faq.mb.softbank.jp/smart/detail.aspx?id=330&categoryId=0&catParentName=&categoryName=

zombiekelly
April 11th, 2014, 17:21
Maybe just rent a cellphone from the airport for that first month, since you have to have this new iphone.

(Assuming someone will sell one to you, a lot of places still resist doing business with foreigners.)

Ini
April 11th, 2014, 22:21
(Assuming someone will sell one to you, a lot of places still resist doing business with foreigners.)


????????????????????????

come again?

ScoobyDoobyBoob
April 12th, 2014, 00:06
You could also try to buy the contract of your predecessor or someone in the area and then upgrade when the new iphone comes out. Not sure about AU but it's doable for softbank at least. The only catch is that you have to be able to go to a softbank store together.

譲渡の手続き方法を教えてください。 | ソフトバンクモバイル (http://faq.mb.softbank.jp/smart/detail.aspx?id=330&categoryId=0&catParentName=&categoryName=)

Dude that's awesome. I had no idea that was possible. Thanks! Of course it depends on my predecessor and what his/her situation is like, but it's another awesome option.

ihatefall
April 12th, 2014, 01:19
Dude I was in the same situation, I had a 5 when I came over and didn't to sign a contract knowing that the 5S was coming out. I did the pocket wifi thing and it wasn't prefect but I got by. (The worst part was waiting 2.5 weeks after the 5S released to get it).

I think I am going to skip contracts on the release of the 6 and get an unlocked 6 with an OCN card and a Skype number. Cheap and it's worth more when you sell it an upgrade. (Depends on how hard it is to break contract).


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zombiekelly
April 12th, 2014, 20:04
come again?

At least with me I had to jump through hoops, wait a few hours, pay phone in full, etc.

Ini
April 12th, 2014, 21:04
That's because you are young, on a short term visa, with no credit history, no guarantor blah blah blah. Unless the shop had a rising sun flag hung in the waiting area I think its a little early to start pounding the racism drum.

Page
April 15th, 2014, 10:34
Yeah, you shouldn't have any problems getting an iPhone here and if you want to do monthly payments on the handset (bunkatsu I think is the word? It's about $25 a month but with discounts you get a "free" phone) you have a pretty good chance of getting it to process since you'll be on a 3 year visa. Also since you'll already have your bank and stamp it should be easy sailing (most ALTs encounter issues in setting up monthly payments because they don't have their bank stuff yet). The only issue you'll possibly have to deal with is if you go home after 2 years you'll have to pay a $100 cancellation on your contract and whatever balance is left on the handset.

Isola
April 21st, 2014, 09:58
If you get a phone contract when you first come to Japan, and then upgrade to the new iPhone with the same phone company, it's not breaking contract. I upgraded to an iPhone in the middle of my phone contract, and I did have to pay a 3000 yen mystery fee, but I didn't have to pay the 10,000 yen breaking contract fee (this was with Docomo). So if you decide to upgrade when the new phone comes out, there shouldn't be much expense to change phones outside of the cost of the phone itself (my phone was free anyway because of a promotion).

Jiggit
April 21st, 2014, 10:02
Oh yeah, no way is a Japanese company not gonna let you pay them to upgrade to the latest shiny.

Japanese phone contracts are hilarious though. I once decided to make them actually explain every single charge to me and they couldn't even fake like they knew. Of course they're just as deliberately confusing back home but at least they can bullsh1t you decently enough.

ihatefall
April 21st, 2014, 11:40
Oh yeah, no way is a Japanese company not gonna let you pay them to upgrade to the latest shiny.

Japanese phone contracts are hilarious though. I once decided to make them actually explain every single charge to me and they couldn't even fake like they knew. Of course they're just as deliberately confusing back home but at least they can bullsh1t you decently enough.

Hahaha this. I think we can all agree that Japan has a long history of dicking over the little guy.
Key money is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of in regards to renting a place. Really!?! You want me to pay you a fee, to thank you for letting me pay you a monthly fee to live to rent a place you designed to be rented?!?!

That is like taking an item to the register and paying for it twice as a thank you to the clerk for allowing you to buy it!?!?

I understand realtors fees, deposits, etc. But things like key money or 500 yen for a tiny dish of stale nuts?!?
"Because Japan" I guess.


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Antonath
April 21st, 2014, 12:11
I understand realtors fees, deposits, etc. But things like key money or 500 yen for a tiny dish of stale nuts?!?
"Because Japan" I guess.
Actually, I quite like the 500-yen otoshi. It saves having to work out a tip, it's the same no matter how long you stay, and most of the places near me usually give you something pretty good.

Yunishkai
April 23rd, 2014, 02:43
Ehh... reading this makes me think to myself "Wow, maybe I shouldn't had just purchased that $600+ phone through T-Mobile"
Thankfully T-Mobile now have a "No-Contract" policy, however, I am currently on a payment plan to pay for the phone in conjunction to my monthly phone bill. Due to the fact that my phone is a Samsung Galaxy S4, I am not too sure how likely it will be for my phone will be compatible for Japanese telephone companies. D:

MJN
April 23rd, 2014, 15:09
1. Taking my iPhone over to Japan as is, getting a pocket wifi thing for just about everything and a cheap little prepaid phone for actual calls/texts.

This is possible, but you'll find that if you call people a lot (or even a regular amount) your prepaid phone will become very expensive, and you'll find you'll have been a hell of a lot cheaper using Skype/LINE/whatsapp/facebook/yourFavouriteApp for calls on the smartphone. Data makes up the bulk of cost on a smartphone in Japan - around 5700/month for the "unlimited" 7GB LTE plans, but there are discounts for those who sign up for a 2-year contract and buy a new phone.


2. Selling my current phone here in the states, going to Japan and buying an unlocked phone with the cash I got from the old phone, using that with a DoCoMo/Bmobile service until the new model comes out, sell that, and sign a contract for the new phone.

The docomo shop in my local bic camera (Large electronics retailer if you're unaware) is currently offering 30,000 Bic Camera points (50,000 yen) if you sign up for an iPhone 5C contract, with the phone being free (no upfront/monthly cost) because they're probably wanting to get rid of them. Softbank and AU are offering related deals, but if you shop around you can find the best one. This option for you might not be bad, you can sign up for the contract, get the iPhone 5C + points then in a few months sell it (can currently be sold to second hand stores for 21,000 in good nick) and use the profits with the points to buy the new one outright, saving a chunk of cash, and keeping the contract as-is.


3. Trading my current iPhone out with someone for an unlocked Sprint model (which has the right bands for LTE and all that), take it over to Japan and use it with Bmobile until the new phone comes out.

Don't do this. You'll struggle heavily getting the sim card - it's not impossible, docomo offer phone-free sims, but it's fucking annoying and you can't use LTE on non-network phones with Japanese companies. That's just a limitation imposed by the companies rather than a technical one. Unless you can negotiate it well yourself you'll find it's nigh impossible as the companies want to give you the phone as well as the sim.


I was wondering: does anyone have any suggestions on what would be the best bet? I'm leaning towards option 1 at the moment because I feel that would be the most hassle free (even though carrying two things around at once can be annoying). Any help or suggestions would be appreciated.

Option 2 would be my vote. Possibly, I'm saying that because I have some experience with phones and contracts in the country and can negotiate my way around them, but I can see why option 1 might be better when new to the country.

ScoobyDoobyBoob
April 23rd, 2014, 16:41
This is possible, but you'll find that if you call people a lot (or even a regular amount) your prepaid phone will become very expensive, and you'll find you'll have been a hell of a lot cheaper using Skype/LINE/whatsapp/facebook/yourFavouriteApp for calls on the smartphone. Data makes up the bulk of cost on a smartphone in Japan - around 5700/month for the "unlimited" 7GB LTE plans, but there are discounts for those who sign up for a 2-year contract and buy a new phone.



The docomo shop in my local bic camera (Large electronics retailer if you're unaware) is currently offering 30,000 Bic Camera points (50,000 yen) if you sign up for an iPhone 5 contract, with the phone being free (no upfront/monthly cost) because they're probably wanting to get rid of them. Softbank and AU are offering related deals, but if you shop around you can find the best one. This option for you might not be bad, you can sign up for the contract, get the iPhone 5 + points then in a few months sell your iPhone 5 (can currently be sold to second hand stores for 21,000 in good nick) and use the profits with the points to buy the new one outright, saving a chunk of cash, and keeping the contract as-is.



Don't do this. You'll struggle heavily getting the sim card - it's not impossible, docomo offer phone-free sims, but it's fucking annoying and you can't use LTE on non-network phones with Japanese companies. That's just a limitation imposed by the companies rather than a technical one. Unless you can negotiate it well yourself you'll find it's nigh impossible as the companies want to give you the phone as well as the sim.



Option 2 would be my vote. Possibly, I'm saying that because I have some experience with phones and contracts in the country and can negotiate my way around them, but I can see why option 1 might be better when new to the country.

Dude, thank you so much for this response. Unbelievably helpful. I'll definitely look into this and probably go this route. This way I can have an iPhone will my current info restored to it, and then just straight up buy whatever I need to get when the right time comes. Hopefully that promo with the points is still there when I get there.

As far as service goes, any particular recommendation? I chose Docomo cause it's the biggest service there, plus I heard it gets the best coverage. I'm still looking up monthly plan costs and everything, so I'm wondering what a decent plan for the big 3 carriers look like.

MJN
April 23rd, 2014, 16:48
The promos come and go, usually on a monthly basis but the phone shops inside larger electronic stores have better offers (aka large quantities of points on offer). Chances are, the absolute best deals you'll get for an iPhone will be after the 6/next one has been announced and surrounding it's launch - they'll be trying to ditch a lot of old stock so the 5S/5C will be going for cheap/free if you sign up for a contract. The individual shops will then add their own offer, such as the 30,000 points ones (which is on top of the ~7000 points you'll get for buying a 70,000 phone to begin with).

Currently (as of yesterday) there's 35000 of points being given out for 16GB iPhone 5C with the free phone if you sign up for a 2-year contract. (again, with docomo at bic camera)

ihatefall
April 23rd, 2014, 16:54
They are all about the same but it's most about what (company) works for your placement. Talk to your pred, maybe all the carriers work. Maybe only AU really works.... There is no telling what they will be offering in August as they get desperate to dump those 5C and 5S models. I would start looking a week before you come.

Also what model is Docomo offering because they never had the "5"....


Sorry I edited this because Tapatalk made it all wonky.


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MJN
April 23rd, 2014, 17:00
Sorry, it's the 5C.

Both Softbank and AU are offering pretty much the same deals.

ihatefall
April 23rd, 2014, 18:16
The problem with that plan is that you'll have carry over payments. For example my coworker upgraded from the 4S to the 5 on Softbank. So she was paying 2000 a month per handset for a year.

Also around a new release the previous handset models really reduce in value. Because 1.) new shiny thing and 2.) everyone dumping them at the same time.


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MJN
April 23rd, 2014, 23:03
No, the phone is free.

My girlfriend got herself a free iPhone 5 (With AU), with the 30k of points a month after the 5S/C came out. There's no monthly fees on the phone on her contract, and there was no upfront charges for it. The phone was completely free.

However, I'm not sure if it's exactly the same now - it's just being advertised the same way. I'm guessing the best deals won't be until the 6's launch window.

Edit: Checking through AU's site just now a 5C will cost 33,480 upfront, no other monthly cost, but I'm sure that'll drop once the 6 has more detailed announced. There's no iPhone 5 mentioned on Softbank or AU's sites, but the stores I know for a fact still have them - chances are, that'll be your free phone right now.

webstaa
April 24th, 2014, 09:33
No, the phone is free.

My girlfriend got herself a free iPhone 5 (With AU), with the 30k of points a month after the 5S/C came out. There's no monthly fees on the phone on her contract, and there was no upfront charges for it. The phone was completely free.

However, I'm not sure if it's exactly the same now - it's just being advertised the same way. I'm guessing the best deals won't be until the 6's launch window.

Edit: Checking through AU's site just now a 5C will cost 33,480 upfront, no other monthly cost, but I'm sure that'll drop once the 6 has more detailed announced. There's no iPhone 5 mentioned on Softbank or AU's sites, but the stores I know for a fact still have them - chances are, that'll be your free phone right now.

When I went to get a phone first week of August 2013, the old gen of Apple phones (I'm in the android ecosystem, but I think it was the 4S or 5?) was on special for 1 yen through Softbank. A similar campaign will probably happen when the 6 comes out.

ScoobyDoobyBoob
April 24th, 2014, 12:53
I want to basically get my hands on the iPhone 6 when it comes out, so here's what I'm thinking (as of right now):

- Get to Japan, and when I am able to, go to a Bic Camera and get a free iPhone 5c w/ Docomo and earn all dem points

- when the iPhone 6 comes out, sell the iPhone 5c at a used shop

- Go to a Docomo store and buy an iPhone 6 full price from them with the points and cash difference


Am I thinking about this correctly?

ihatefall
April 24th, 2014, 13:23
Unless you pay for the iPhone upfront full price, you'll owe money I am pretty sure.


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ihatefall
April 24th, 2014, 13:23
Full price for the phone is not $200,300,400 that is a subsidized price


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MJN
April 24th, 2014, 22:21
Unless you pay for the iPhone upfront full price, you'll owe money I am pretty sure.


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There are offers where the phones are literally free, where a free phone is free. No monthly charges, no upfront cost. The only catch is signing into a 2-year contract. Currently, the 5C is not free, but that might (And I do stress might) change closer to the launch of the 6 if they need to get rid of stock.

"Full price" for the iPhone 5C 16GB right now, as a new customer to AU, is 33,840. You can sign into a contract and own that phone with that upfront and no monthly charges for the phone itself. It's 54,480 with Softbank and 62,208 with docomo. Contract prices for data/calls/etc vary on top of that, but there is no extra charges for the phone itself.

The 5, not the 5C, is on a store-by-store basis (because they are getting rid of stock) and is coming with some nice incentives attached - free phone, points etc - where it's actually available.

MJN
April 24th, 2014, 22:23
I want to basically get my hands on the iPhone 6 when it comes out, so here's what I'm thinking (as of right now):

- Get to Japan, and when I am able to, go to a Bic Camera and get a free iPhone 5c w/ Docomo and earn all dem points
- when the iPhone 6 comes out, sell the iPhone 5c at a used shop
- Go to a Docomo store and buy an iPhone 6 full price from them with the points and cash difference


Am I thinking about this correctly?

That's fine and dandy, but keep in mind if you have a rural placement your nearest bic camera / large electronics retailer with an in-built phone shop could be a long drive away. You might also find there's extremely limited service on what you can get - docomo is bad for being the only provider in a lot of more rural areas and charging through the teeth.

The 5C might not be free when you come - that's just trying to predict the future based on what has happened before.

ihatefall
April 24th, 2014, 22:43
When I was comparing, the 64GB 5S with the same plan, it was actually more at Softbank vs Docomo. Not a lot, like 1000 less and that was with unlimited calling softbank to softbank, but for unlimited calling docomo to docomo you had to pay but it was still like 200 less.


I didn't get it because I FaceTime Audio / Line call / Skype everyone anyway.


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Gizmotech
April 25th, 2014, 06:53
Also, good thing to know for you apple lovers here. Japanese iPhones are locked, and not able to be unlocked. Don't consider this phone a long term investment, it's only good in this country.

ScoobyDoobyBoob
April 25th, 2014, 08:46
Thanks for all the feedback. Damn, I'm really confused as to what I should do now.

Will I be able to use the points earned from a Bic Camera at a carrier store? Or are those points like bic camera points and only able to be used at bic camera?

Cause if so, then I don't see the point in going that route now. I may just hold off on buying any phone until the 6 comes out...

Or get some sort of non-contract phone for a few months.

yingyangryder
April 25th, 2014, 10:11
Maybe buy an old style flip phone. They are very cheap I think, when I bought one when I was here on a tourist visa a few years ago it cost like 5000 yen. Your school will probably want you to have a phone so they can contact you so they will probably not allow you to not have a phone.

Gizmotech
April 25th, 2014, 10:51
Thanks for all the feedback. Damn, I'm really confused as to what I should do now.

Will I be able to use the points earned from a Bic Camera at a carrier store? Or are those points like bic camera points and only able to be used at bic camera?

Cause if so, then I don't see the point in going that route now. I may just hold off on buying any phone until the 6 comes out...

Or get some sort of non-contract phone for a few months.

Store points are store points, they have nothing to do with the carrier. It's a "thank you for coming to us, cuz we made a small kick back on this sale, and want you to come buy the rest of our overpriced stuff".

You can't hold off having a phone of some sort in Japan. I knew a kid who tried that and was basically a social pariah for his first few months. By the time he finally got a phone, he was so out of the loop that people pretty much forgot they existed. The ONLY reason he wasn't forced into getting a phone when he got here was because he teaches at a school with another ALT, who also lives in the same complex.

ScoobyDoobyBoob
April 25th, 2014, 13:00
Store points are store points, they have nothing to do with the carrier. It's a "thank you for coming to us, cuz we made a small kick back on this sale, and want you to come buy the rest of our overpriced stuff".

You can't hold off having a phone of some sort in Japan. I knew a kid who tried that and was basically a social pariah for his first few months. By the time he finally got a phone, he was so out of the loop that people pretty much forgot they existed. The ONLY reason he wasn't forced into getting a phone when he got here was because he teaches at a school with another ALT, who also lives in the same complex.

Well fuck me...

Dammit, why must my first world problem cause me so much distress.

Anyone have any recommendations on services that may offer phones off contract for cheap? Willcom?

Or what if I buy a cheap Japanese service phone on eBay? If I take let's say a Docomo flip phone I got from eBay to a Docomo retail store, will they let me get just a sim and pay month to month, or prepaid?

MJN
April 25th, 2014, 13:27
Thanks for all the feedback. Damn, I'm really confused as to what I should do now.

Will I be able to use the points earned from a Bic Camera at a carrier store? Or are those points like bic camera points and only able to be used at bic camera?

Cause if so, then I don't see the point in going that route now. I may just hold off on buying any phone until the 6 comes out...

Or get some sort of non-contract phone for a few months.

The odd thing about the way Bic Camera does its business with the phone stores is that you're buying the phone from the shop, and the contract from the phone company. You can use Bic camera points to buy a phone from docomo, as long as it's a docomo shop in bic camera.


Also, good thing to know for you apple lovers here. Japanese iPhones are locked, and not able to be unlocked. Don't consider this phone a long term investment, it's only good in this country.

This is true, but if you keep the phone in good condition, alongside the box and all cabling, then you can get a pretty amount back - ever after subsequent models are released - through second hand stores, let alone selling privately, when you are going home.


The way I ended up getting my current phone (Note 3), through Bic camera: 71,000(ish) phone to begin with, I got a 21k discount for going through the MNP program switching from Docomo, used 35,000 of bic camera vouchers I had from beforehand/other reasons, and bought an AU MNP coupon from yahoo auctions (for about ~1800JPY) discounting it a further 10,500 so ended up with a 71,000 phone for something around 7000JPY. [I'm about to be moaned at for being a cheap bastard]

ihatefall
April 25th, 2014, 15:16
No way! That's being smart and I always do stuff like that back home!


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MJN
April 25th, 2014, 15:43
And to further, I'm selling it for 32000 as I leave the country.

On a related topic: Can I cancel my AU contract at Kansai airport?

mark17820
May 3rd, 2014, 03:09
I'm in the same boat! I want to wait for the iPhone 6 to come out so I don't want to have to sign up for any contract until then. I was thinking about going the cheap flip phone route, trying to find a pre-paid phone/plan, or rent a sim card (if possible). When I studied abroad in Japan 1 1/2 years ago, I used my internationally unlocked iPhone 4S with a SoftBank sim card that I bought at the airport. The only bad thing is that it was expensive as hell and I could only make/receive calls. Does anyone know of any cheap data/voice sim card options out there?

ihatefall
May 4th, 2014, 17:22
I did airplane mode with a pocket wifi for a few months. (They asked us for a credit card, I don't know if you can do it with out one.) It wasn't prefect but it got me through to the 5S. Maybe the 6 will come out earlier.


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mark17820
May 6th, 2014, 05:02
Where did you get your pocket wifi device from and how much was it per month? I wouldn't mind going that route, but I'm just worried about not having an actual phone number. WiFi calling through LINE or FaceTime audio would be fine for contacting home, but if anyone else in Japan needs to get ahold of me then I'm in trouble lol.

ihatefall
May 6th, 2014, 22:57
Where did you get your pocket wifi device from and how much was it per month? I wouldn't mind going that route, but I'm just worried about not having an actual phone number. WiFi calling through LINE or FaceTime audio would be fine for contacting home, but if anyone else in Japan needs to get ahold of me then I'm in trouble lol.

We bought our pocket wifi's online used for 3000 yen. They weren't LTE but it was only for a few months so I didn't care. It was 5000 yen a month with no contract just month to month. A little pricier then the contract version but once again no two year contract.
You could look into getting a used one back home (unlocked and compatible) and getting a data SIM card, usually 2000-3000 a month.

You can get a local Japanese phone number for 1000 yen a month. I would get it just in case, but in my experience you won't use it often.

Keep in mind, your doing a lot of planning and we don't know the release date of the 6 yet. iPhones used to come out in July, maybe the release cycle will move forward?
Wait until the WWDC.


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Gizmotech
May 7th, 2014, 08:15
When I came they asked me if I wanted to get a local land line. I promptly said no, and asked them to take me to the store that day. Mind you, I setup my cellphone with my credit card at first just to make sure I could get it asap.

Ini
May 8th, 2014, 14:14
considering how every year all the new people complain about how hard it is to raise the 2-3000 dollars start up money you are advised to bring why the hell are any of you considering dropping vast amounts of cash on an unlocked iphone before you leave?

ihatefall
May 8th, 2014, 23:25
considering how every year all the new people complain about how hard it is to raise the 2-3000 dollars start up money you are advised to bring why the hell are any of you considering dropping vast amounts of cash on an unlocked iphone before you leave?

ESID?


Seriously though AMEN to this.
Any until the release date of the 6 is announced why bother worrying?



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ihatefall
May 10th, 2014, 19:07
Report Claims Apple Will Launch 4.7-Inch iPhone 6 in August, Larger Model in September - Mac Rumors (http://www.macrumors.com/2014/05/09/4-7-iphone-6-launch-august-larger-model-september/)

Although this is a rumor is what I was talking about.




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ihatefall
June 2nd, 2014, 10:58
Also if you have Tmobile, they give you free 3G and cheap calling while in Japan. Could be a good option for those holding out for the new phones.
International Plans | Traveling Abroad without Roaming Fees | T-Mobile (http://www.t-mobile.com/optional-services/roaming.html)

ScoobyDoobyBoob
June 3rd, 2014, 08:19
That's sick, but I think it would be tough for people from school/work to call cause it'll be an international number for them right?

ihatefall
June 4th, 2014, 21:00
You could do the local Skype number thing, it's 1000 yen a month.

Ebi
June 4th, 2014, 21:42
Does anyone else here use GoogleVoice? I use it for all of my calls home. It's not a substitute for a phone in Japan since it works poorly on cellphones (at least in my experience) and wouldn't be feasible for domestic calls in Japan anyway. But as a Skype alternative I really like it.

Pros:
-can connect to any phone in the US & Canada any time for free with no limitations aside from needing a computer/microphone
-provides a dedicated cellphone number based in the US so people can call/text me for free anytime and it alerts me in my gmail inbox
-can send and receive text messages via gmail, which is convenient since it's usually faster to type
-great quality calls, dropped calls and technical issues are extremely rare (On the other hand, Skype seems to hate me)

Cons:
-requires a US/Canada based number to sign up for a dedicated phone number, and you need a proxy to enter the setup page if you try to do it overseas
-the GoogleVoice app for iPhone can't make phone calls for free, but you can use it for texts
-you can use Talkatone for GoogleVoice to make calls, but the quality is terrible even if you have Wi-Fi (do not recommend)
-charges money for any calls to places besides the US or Canada

therealwindycity
June 5th, 2014, 08:43
You can't use talkatone anymore - google disabled third-party access to voice, unfortunately. I should probably download the google voice app to text since the built-in iPhone mail app sucks a lot, but it has such terrible reviews I haven't tried it yet.

Ebi
June 5th, 2014, 18:35
You can't use talkatone anymore - google disabled third-party access to voice, unfortunately. I should probably download the google voice app to text since the built-in iPhone mail app sucks a lot, but it has such terrible reviews I haven't tried it yet.
Oh right! I forgot about that. Goes to show that I never used GoogleVoice on my phone.

zombiekelly
June 8th, 2014, 13:49
I had that while I was in Japan. It helped for things like calling home, credit cards, airline, etc. But it sucks donkeyballs in the US. Most plans are unlimited voice these days, and google eats your MMS and makes you look like a dick for not responding to a message you never got.

Ebi
June 9th, 2014, 17:11
I had that while I was in Japan. It helped for things like calling home, credit cards, airline, etc. But it sucks donkeyballs in the US. Most plans are unlimited voice these days, and google eats your MMS and makes you look like a dick for not responding to a message you never got.
Huh, good to know. I don't text much since I usually keep in touch with online chats. The phone part has worked great for me. It's nice being able to call up any US based company I need to for free in addition to regular calls back home. What I like most is that I can call at any time whereas Skype (unless you pay for it) requires a prearranged time for both of us to sign in.

Gizmotech
June 9th, 2014, 17:16
Huh, good to know. I don't text much since I usually keep in touch with online chats. The phone part has worked great for me. It's nice being able to call up any US based company I need to for free in addition to regular calls back home. What I like most is that I can call at any time whereas Skype (unless you pay for it) requires a prearranged time for both of us to sign in.

I pay for it, it makes my life MUCH easier for the 30$ a year.

Lianwen
June 9th, 2014, 18:21
I pay for it, it makes my life MUCH easier for the 30$ a year.

Me too. The newest versions of Office come with free 60min of Skype each month, but I pay for minutes.

It just makes life so much easier, knowing I can pick up my Japanese phone and dial any number in America when I want to. I maybe go through 10$ of Skype credit every 6 months or so.

Ebi
June 9th, 2014, 20:00
I have Skype credits just in case but I ended up never using them. I'm not sure why but despite using Skype very little I always seem to have problems with it. Either crappy quality, dropped calls, log in issues, etc. And the quality through my iPhone has never been great either. I think I'll switch to Skype when I want to start doing regular video chats (like when I have kids) but for now making phone calls on the weekends with my computer has worked well enough. I can't call during weekdays anyways due to the timezone difference.

Reassuring Skeleton
June 10th, 2014, 03:42
So I have a phone-related question that fits in this thread but, from what I can tell, hasn't directly been answered yet.

I have an unlocked iPhone 5s but, unlike OP, have no aspirations of getting a 6 or a new phone at all. Quite simply, will I be able to buy a SIM card that fits it and has the standard type of package available in most countries (you know.. text, calls, data).

Two-year contracts are a no-go and data-only SIMs seem fairly cool but a bit impractical.

webstaa
June 10th, 2014, 08:23
So I have a phone-related question that fits in this thread but, from what I can tell, hasn't directly been answered yet.

I have an unlocked iPhone 5s but, unlike OP, have no aspirations of getting a 6 or a new phone at all. Quite simply, will I be able to buy a SIM card that fits it and has the standard type of package available in most countries (you know.. text, calls, data).

Two-year contracts are a no-go and data-only SIMs seem fairly cool but a bit impractical.


I wrote up an explanation of what you'd need to do elsewhere in this forum... and I'll quote it for you below.


It depends on what carrier you get your iPhone from. Apple - iPhone 5 - View countries with supported LTE networks. (http://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/) Match up on with a Japanese carrier. Note that LTE is only 1/2 of the phone's connection (but the more important half - data. 3G is generally on UMTS and "4G LTE" is on FDD-LTE and TD-LTE)

Double check with Japan Mobile Tech: Japanese mobile frequency bands (http://www.japanmobiletech.com/2012/03/japanese-mobile-frequency-bands.html) and you'll be fine. (Beware, the second link isn't up to date - it doesn't have all of Docomo or AU 4G bands on it).

Ideally you'll want a Model A1453 (iPhone 5s) or Model A1429 (iPhone 5). You could use these in either country, but outside of the major cities in the US you may not be able to connect to 3G/4G if/when/where it is available. If you have a US iPhone Model A1533 (GSM) or Model A1533 (CDMA), you can use Docomo pretty well (there are three usable bands - other carriers only have one).

Check the model of your phone (first link) against the Japanese carrier bands (second link) to find out if you can get away with using your old phone or if you need a new one. Essentially this is for 3G/4G data connection (which is what you'll be using 98% of the time anyways.)

ihatefall
June 10th, 2014, 12:01
Also if you bring an unlocked iphone to a Japanese carrier they will NOT allow you to access the LTE band. Maybe this will change (docomo just came out with new plans) but as of now, if you don't get handset from them, you don't get fast data.

Teishou
June 10th, 2014, 13:08
Bah, I just use LINE to keep in touch with my mom.

webstaa
June 10th, 2014, 15:46
Also if you bring an unlocked iphone to a Japanese carrier they will NOT allow you to access the LTE band. Maybe this will change (docomo just came out with new plans) but as of now, if you don't get handset from them, you don't get fast data.

Also I'd like to add that Softbank changed their plans/billing as well. I don't know what/how it changed, but I do get their crappy notification emails...

Reassuring Skeleton
June 10th, 2014, 20:04
{Very in-depth and useful information}

Thanks very much for posting that! Unfortunately it's mostly Greek to me.

So I've checked the box and I have a 5s A1457 (which seems to be the model distributed in almost all of Eurasia). Now the A1453 you mentioned seems to only be available in the US/Japan and what a faff it would be to get one of those sent over before 2 August. I'm having a little trouble deciphering those charts in your second link but it looks like only one band is compatible? I don't really know enough about this to make any sort of a call on this one so what do you think?

Oh and just to clarify I don't really mind about not having 4G as long as there's enough 3G to send the usual suite of whatsapps/snapchats/facebook messages and to use google translate to explain what on Earth is going on.

webstaa
June 11th, 2014, 08:12
If there is only one band available, coverage will be VERY spotty. Not every area with coverage has all the bands available, so there will be wide swaths of Japan where your 5s will be useless.

Save money now, get a phone when you get here. If you don't want a brand new phone, buy one from a recycle (secondhand) store - there are plenty of iPhones on the used market. Then go to a carrier and get your plan set up. It will be cheaper than trying to arrange everything before hand. Set your current coverage to end when you get here and sell your phone for a couple hundred bucks.

ScoobyDoobyBoob
June 12th, 2014, 03:49
I've read various people post that the phone was quite expensive when they first got to japan. So does that mean there are no subsidies for ohones? Can you make monthly payments on phones? Or do I actually have to straight up buy a full price iPhone?

Ananasboat
June 12th, 2014, 04:39
It depends on what deal the carriers are running. I think when I was there, SoftBank was having a promotion where a new iPhone was 5円, and the unlimited wireless deal was 5k円 a month. So all in all, not too shabby.

webstaa
June 12th, 2014, 08:41
I've read various people post that the phone was quite expensive when they first got to japan. So does that mean there are no subsidies for ohones? Can you make monthly payments on phones? Or do I actually have to straight up buy a full price iPhone?

Its Japan, there is always a 'campaign' going on. Coming at the end of summer works ok in two ways - although the campaigns will be in full swing, older model (winter model) phones will be in shorter supply - but they will be cheaper as well. Same for the iPhone - especially at Softbank. New models will be more expensive.

Generally the costs balance out like you'd seen in the US. However, instead of telling you that the plan for X phone costs $Y with data etc added, everything is pretty much flat rate and all the costs are actually listed. So instead of paying $60 a month for low tier service and getting a 'free' phone, you'll pay $20 a month for service and the phone will be broken down into 12 or 24 monthly payments added on, often bringing the cost in line with American carriers. (Note, when a Japanese phone is 'free' or '¥0' it is actually discounted, not subsidized like in the States and Canada. The difference is that if you leave after 1 year and your phone isn't paid off, they will charge you the remaining cost of the phone. (Also, only Docomo unlocks phones, and they're apparently pretty spotty about it. If you want to root a JDM Android phone, good luck!)

When you go to get your phone, you will probably have to use a credit card to set up payment/pay the first month, as you don't get paid until nearly a month in - 26th of August. You can also do conbini pay AFAIK. Once you get you IC (ATM) Card from your bank, you can have it switched over pretty easily.

coop52
June 12th, 2014, 08:56
When I first got here, AU let me sign up for auto-withdrawl right away, but it didn't take effect until the next month. The first month, I had to take the bill to a conbini.

AU was also ok with me making monthly payments on my phone, all three times I've gotten phones through them. The only thing they made me pay upfront for was my iPad.

Webstaa's right about the campaign thing. You can get a ton of good deals on slightly older (as in a couple of months old) phones. Plus, they might throw in stuff like a pocket wifi or cash back or coupons or something.

Gizmotech
June 12th, 2014, 10:19
When I first got here, AU let me sign up for auto-withdrawl right away, but it didn't take effect until the next month. The first month, I had to take the bill to a conbini.

AU was also ok with me making monthly payments on my phone, all three times I've gotten phones through them. The only thing they made me pay upfront for was my iPad.

Webstaa's right about the campaign thing. You can get a ton of good deals on slightly older (as in a couple of months old) phones. Plus, they might throw in stuff like a pocket wifi or cash back or coupons or something.

Funny thing is SoftBank was totally cool with both my iPhones and my ipad being monthly withdrawal. For the first few months I was using my Canadian credit card (because I didn't have my cash card he day I signed up) and switched it to cash card a few months later. Saved me the pain of paying for the phone up front and I had a phone the second day I was at my placement (when many had to wait a week or two, or pay for their phone outright)

Au has those discount programs, SoftBank does not. At SoftBank you will never pay more than 300yen per month for the base line phone, but they do not subsidize, just discount.

zombiekelly
June 14th, 2014, 02:59
I got a pantech sumaho for 1.5m up front, and when I cancelled my contract after a single year, all I had to pay was the 1m termination fee. So there are affordable phones to be had. I grumbled a lot about the phone, but most of my complaints would have been the same on a Galaxy.

tl;dr don't worry about phone price

ihatefall
June 18th, 2014, 14:52
People, don't buy "pantech" anything.

createdtodance7
June 29th, 2014, 16:30
Japanese cellular carriers to get ministry call to cellphones - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/business/AJ201406290027)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Ananasboat
June 29th, 2014, 23:07
Japanese cellular carriers to get ministry call to cellphones - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/business/AJ201406290027)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

The future is here!

ihatefall
June 30th, 2014, 02:10
Japanese cellular carriers to get ministry call to cellphones - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun (http://ajw.asahi.com/article/business/AJ201406290027)


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

I saw this today as well, I hope it goes through.

webstaa
June 30th, 2014, 12:32
Also, if you want to terminate your Softbank contract now, you just pay your last bill (plus any remaining amount for the phone itself) + 1万 and you're free. It's delightful if you want to move to a carrier with real phones aside from the iPhone...

ScoobyDoobyBoob
July 5th, 2014, 12:15
What would you guys say to the idea of selling my current device here in the US, signing up with one of the carriers (people living in Kyoto City which one is the best in the area?), and when the iPhone 6 comes out, sell the previously bought phone or trade it in (does Japan do trade-ins?).

I know it sounds like I'm being ridiculous, but bear with my materialism here.

greyjoy
July 5th, 2014, 16:13
What would you guys say to the idea of selling my current device here in the US, signing up with one of the carriers (people living in Kyoto City which one is the best in the area?), and when the iPhone 6 comes out, sell the previously bought phone or trade it in (does Japan do trade-ins?).

I know it sounds like I'm being ridiculous, but bear with my materialism here.

Oh, I sort of thought that was the conclusion you arrived at two months ago. Yeah, do that.

ihatefall
July 5th, 2014, 21:48
What would you guys say to the idea of selling my current device here in the US, signing up with one of the carriers (people living in Kyoto City which one is the best in the area?), and when the iPhone 6 comes out, sell the previously bought phone or trade it in (does Japan do trade-ins?).

I know it sounds like I'm being ridiculous, but bear with my materialism here.

No way, that is smart! I just did that last year with the 5S. What carrier are you with now?

webstaa
July 7th, 2014, 08:17
Don't forget, you can always sell your old phone to a recycle shop for a couple thousand yen. You won't get a 'fair' price for it, but its better than holding on to it. Sometimes you can get enough to pay it off (the last couple installments, if you haven't paid it off yet.)

Although I'm pretty sure you need the paperwork for the phone when you go to sell it - regs about stolen goods and all.

ScoobyDoobyBoob
July 7th, 2014, 09:04
No way, that is smart! I just did that last year with the 5S. What carrier are you with now?

I'm with AT&T here in the states right now.

FYI I checked with my friend who worked for SoftBank for a while and she mentioned that if you get an iPhone 5/5s/5c and then break contract to get an iPhone 7, you'll first have to pay off the full price of the previously bought iPhone 5/5s/5c.

Just thought id mention it to people that considered doing what I was doing.

Edit: iPhone 6 not 7

webstaa
July 7th, 2014, 09:17
Also, if you get the 1 yen phone on campaign (not sure if they have one now) and break contract, you might have to pay for the phone - as the 1 yen price is only good if you keep the contract for 2 years.

ihatefall
July 7th, 2014, 09:53
I'm with AT&T here in the states right now.

FYI I checked with my friend who worked for SoftBank for a while and she mentioned that if you get an iPhone 5/5s/5c and then break contract to get an iPhone 7, you'll first have to pay off the full price of the previously bought iPhone 5/5s/5c.

Just thought id mention it to people that considered doing what I was doing.

Edit: iPhone 6 not 7

Awesome! You can unlock your device here.

Error Page (https://www.att.com/deviceunlock/client/en_US/termsAndCondition)

Then you can just get a data sim to wait it out until the 6 comes out.

Side note: I don't know whys Tapatalk is showing that link as an error but it works