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AngusGibson
July 1st, 2014, 00:05
Hey, folks.

I'm Taylor, and I'll be moving to Japan on August 2nd to be an ALT.

Here's my situation. The phone I use right now for a phone plan is one given to me by my folks. It's a "dumb phone" on Verizon that I just use for phone/text. I just received a gift of someone's old iPhone 4 to be used as a tablet. However, if I wanted to use it in Japan, what's the easiest/cheapest option? Unlock it here in the States and do a monthly plan with a carrier in Japan? Or do something with it in Japan? Get a new phone with a plan in Japan? Get an unlocked phone in Japan?

Ananasboat
July 1st, 2014, 03:57
Direct yourself, good sir or madam, to the thread "phone situation upon arriving." That, or search the many other threads asking the same question. There have been some developments lately that may or may not change the outcome of your decision.

richief_611
July 1st, 2014, 16:04
Yeah, just as Ananasboat said, you should read the other thread.

As far as I know, you probably won't be able to use your USA iPhone in Japan, even if it is unlocked. The best option for you is to just get a phone when you arrive in Japan. I'm not sure how good your Japanese is, but it will be a hassle trying to explain that you have an unlocked iPhone from abroad.

When you sign up for a 2 year contract, they usually give you the option to either pay for the phone in monthly installments for a duration of 24 months, or pay for the entire phone in one lump-sum. This actually sometimes depends on the store and/or employee that is helping you too. I know that when a bunch of people came as ALTs to my city last year, and even when I first came to Japan 2 years ago, they made us pay for the whole iPhone upfront, with no option to pay little by little each month. Obviously, this was probably because we are foreigners.

I was tired of the iPhone 4S last year and really wanted the iPhone 5s, so a year after my first contract, I upgraded early from the iPhone 4S to the iPhone 5s. I only had to pay for an upgrade fee of around $35, and elected to pay for the new iPhone 5s in monthly installments (~$35/month for 24 months).

greyjoy
July 1st, 2014, 19:41
God, I really don't understand how so many people are dissatisfied with their current iteration of technology and are convinced the next one is going to make them happy. I'm dissatisfied with my piece of shit Samsung, so when I get a new phone, it's not going to be a slightly less piece of shit Samsung. It will still be some other frustrating brick of resentment and torture, but at least it will be made by someone else.

Ini
July 1st, 2014, 19:48
calm down grandpa, you dont want to get your blood pressure up.

ScoobyDoobyBoob
July 2nd, 2014, 00:01
God, I really don't understand how so many people are dissatisfied with their current iteration of technology and are convinced the next one is going to make them happy. I'm dissatisfied with my piece of shit Samsung, so when I get a new phone, it's not going to be a slightly less piece of shit Samsung. It will still be some other frustrating brick of resentment and torture, but at least it will be made by someone else.


https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KpUNA2nutbk

BeckyJones
July 2nd, 2014, 11:31
Phone, you should get one. go to an AU store, or Docomo. They can help you out

UPGRAYEDD
July 2nd, 2014, 11:49
Don't forget Softbank and Emobile

ihatefall
July 2nd, 2014, 14:37
If you're in the area of a major metropolitan softbank is likely to be the fastest (data wise). But if you live in the sticks docomo / au is the way to go.

Surprisingly softbank has a lot more coverage in the city than Docomo. Talking to your pred/ co-workers is the best idea

Jiggit
July 2nd, 2014, 14:39
Softbank coverage is getting better recently in my experience. Docomo certainly used to be the king of the boonies but not sure if that's still true.

word
July 2nd, 2014, 15:13
Talking to your pred/ co-workers is the best idea
word

ihatefall
July 2nd, 2014, 16:02
Softbank coverage is getting better recently in my experience. Docomo certainly used to be the king of the boonies but not sure if that's still true.

I definitely agree. The thing is my docomo iPhone never has 5 bars of service but I have never seen it out of service either. Where my Softbank iPhone (company phone) usually has better service.....until you leave the city and then it can get pretty spotty depending on the location. It even dropped off to 'no service' twice on the Shinkansen Tokyo Osaka.

A lot of people seem to be digging AU too these days.


Edit: I have also seen the SB phone with more signal than the Docomo phone in the boonies.
So ya, talk to your pred.

therealwindycity
July 2nd, 2014, 16:05
Softbank coverage is getting better recently in my experience. Docomo certainly used to be the king of the boonies but not sure if that's still true.

Yeah I never had any problems with Softbank's coverage, and I'm in the inaka fairly often (switched to AU because of the free phone though)

Gizmotech
July 2nd, 2014, 19:36
I'll say this about softbank. When I switched to 4g last year it was a big improvement where I live, but many people now are on their 4g network and speeds have slowed down again. Always ask your pred what they are using and if you can join a Facebook group with other area jets ask them.

ihatefall
July 4th, 2014, 22:37
Also, I know that this is "Japan: land of technology" and that Japan's telecommunications are amazing; but the sad fact is that it isn't true. Back in 2006 when Japan was on 3G and everyone else was like "duh, wutz a tex messagez?", it was a lot faster but now things have changed. Don't expect super fast data mobile speeds here, they are all at best 3/4 of AT&T data speeds.

zombiekelly
July 5th, 2014, 07:04
I had au 4G, worked pretty good for mid to southern Ibaraki. The only times it dipped into 3G was when I was on the train.