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weepinbell
November 20th, 2014, 02:58
Idk I'm curious, figured I'd ask.

What do most people do as far as cell phone plans? Prepaid vs contract? Which is cheaper?

And whatever, I'll out myself as someone who can't live without an iPhone. What's the best way to go with those? Just bring it and use wifi for at-home stuff and get a separate pay-as-you go for Japan stuff? I probably wouldn't wanna be stuck with a Japanese iPhone that'd be useless in my home country lol.

Ini
November 20th, 2014, 08:13
iphones are garbage after 2 years anyway so even if you only keep it a year you'll be getting your moneys worth. get an iphone on contract, its cheap enough here.

Jiggit
November 20th, 2014, 08:25
Just bring it and use wifi for at-home stuff and get a separate pay-as-you go for Japan stuff?

From what I've heard you'll find it difficult to find a carrier who'll take your foreign phone. Maybe my friends are just dumbasses though.

webstaa
November 20th, 2014, 09:15
There's already at least three other threads that cover this - the basic jist of it being this:

1. Check which iPhone model you have and what LTE bands it supports (https://www.apple.com/iphone/LTE/).

2. Check which carrier's LTE you can connect to in Japan (http://www.japanmobiletech.com/2012/03/japanese-lte-bands.html). (You want as many LTE bands as possible - some are not available outside major cities. A better/more comprehesive list is on the Japanese wikipedia (https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long_Term_Evolution).)

3. Check coverage maps for where you are going to live. (Pretty much necessary no matter what country you're going to live in - no links here, find it on the carrier pages.)

4. Check out data only contracts from bmobile or yahoo mobile etc. (Free calling over Line/Skype whatever - can save you a few dozen bucks a month.)

If you're applying in this cycle and get in, the best route if you want an iPhone is going to probably be getting one here. Just sell it to a recycle shop/sofmap before you leave the country and get a fully functional one back in your home country when you leave.

Some people have reported issues with major carrier's shops being unwilling to sell foreigners SIM-only plans for use with foreign models of phones (usually Android though.) Staff in the stores are generally pretty helpful, but almost never can answer any technical questions (maybe its a bit of Ron Swanson syndrome.) I've never had any trouble.

As for what is cheaper - its going to depend on what phone you want, what data plan you want (data-houdai or packet plan,) and what carrier you end up getting stuck with out in the inaka of Shikoku, Kyushu, or Hokkaido.

weepinbell
November 20th, 2014, 09:40
If you're applying in this cycle and get in, the best route if you want an iPhone is going to probably be getting one here. Just sell it to a recycle shop/sofmap before you leave the country and get a fully functional one back in your home country when you leave.

Some people have reported issues with major carrier's shops being unwilling to sell foreigners SIM-only plans for use with foreign models of phones (usually Android though.) Staff in the stores are generally pretty helpful, but almost never can answer any technical questions (maybe its a bit of Ron Swanson syndrome.) I've never had any trouble.

As for what is cheaper - its going to depend on what phone you want, what data plan you want (data-houdai or packet plan,) and what carrier you end up getting stuck with out in the inaka of Shikoku, Kyushu, or Hokkaido.

Cool thank you. This is helpful.

So most people probably just do this, huh? I've read a little about getting a prepaid, but I guess those are only calling/texting and no data? That's why I'm curious if people ever just bring over their iPhones from home sans plan for wifi so they can skype/imessage or whatever. If it wouldn't be a huge chunk of change like you're all saying though, I guess just getting one there would be more convenient. Thanks guys.

webstaa
November 21st, 2014, 08:23
Generally, prepaid phones will restrict you from what model you can get. I don't know if there are data restrictions. Last time I looked into pre-paid phones was 2011. You had to rent the handset (flip-phone) and couldn't just buy a cheap one from a recycle shop. If you're going to be here for more than 6 months, I'd just get a regular smartphone (iPhone or android, pick your poison) - most people don't use them to make phone calls anyway. (And if you need to, you can use google voice/skype/line over a data or wifi connection.)

Ini
November 21st, 2014, 13:31
you can get prepaid smartphones now if you want 3 year old tech crammed into the cheapest handset ever conceived by man. pantone vs honeybee?? who will win?

Man up, Nancy. Just get a Iphone on contract.

therealwindycity
November 21st, 2014, 14:01
Your life will be much, much easier if you just anticipate that you'll have to sign up for a contract and pay around 7000 yen per month. Anything less than that is going to be extremely impractical, unless you're ok with an old flip phone and only using your iPhone when you have wifi. I use my maps and Internet-required apps so often that I would have a really hard time without a smartphone. As Ini said, a prepaid smartphone won't really be worth it, and cell phone companies here work really hard to force you to buy the handset from them directly. The way they set up discounts and things usually means you wouldn't save much money providing your own phone anyway - for example, AU discounts your data by a few thousand yen per month as an iPhone sign-up bonus. It's probably more expensive than what you were paying if you were on a family plan back home, but it's not an unreasonable price for a smartphone. And it will make things much easier for you; cell phone bills and company bureaucracy are hard enough to navigate in your native language, let alone in Japanese.

lulabelle990
January 15th, 2015, 21:30
I had a prepaid on my year abroad a few years ago. It had free emails and some free calls and it was alright. I always used my iphone at Uni because of the Wifi. But I think this time I'm defo going to go for an Iphone 6 contract. They're 2 years long, but i'm hoping to be there for longer so it makes it worth it. (plus all dem apps xD) Look around for the best deals before committing to a contract though :) Same as what you'd do back home

Penguee
January 15th, 2015, 23:00
I had a prepaid on my year abroad a few years ago. It had free emails and some free calls and it was alright. I always used my iphone at Uni because of the Wifi. But I think this time I'm defo going to go for an Iphone 6 contract. They're 2 years long, but i'm hoping to be there for longer so it makes it worth it. (plus all dem apps xD) Look around for the best deals before committing to a contract though :) Same as what you'd do back home

Beware. This is almost NO wifi floating around in Japan. If you go to McDonald's or Starbucks, they have it, but just so everyone knows. Japan is in many ways, still in the dark ages.

word
January 15th, 2015, 23:06
word

I mean, once you're here, you kinda understand. Japan was a few years behind the whole smartphone thing, and even then, the population has been slow on the uptake. As a result they don't have as many issues with network congestion as most of the rest of the world, and have had time to upgrade their networks as adoption has increased. Unlimited data plans are still a thing (throttled after 7gigs/mo, usually); people just don't need wifi the way they do everywhere else.

sharpinthefang
January 15th, 2015, 23:10
double word, think of phones as what you would have thrown away 5-10 years ago.

lulabelle990
January 15th, 2015, 23:11
Yeah i know. I got to use my Uni one last time. But that's why im guna get a proper contract phone this time round. So that I can use the 4G or whatever :)

weepinbell
January 16th, 2015, 01:05
Yeah I keep hearing from everyone that wifi sucks there lol. But I mean, that's fine, from what everyone is saying it seems like there are plenty of good deals on data plans and smartphones anyways. And I'm trash who can't survive without my iPhone so I would prob plan on investing in a 6... :P

Zolrak 22
January 16th, 2015, 01:11
Never had an IPhone...

I guess I prefer the Android benefits.

PuddingHead
January 16th, 2015, 01:45
Never had an IPhone...

I guess I prefer the Android benefits.

Ditto.

naginataonthebrain
January 16th, 2015, 02:07
I've always had an iPhone but I'm kind of interested in looking at the Samsung Galaxy phones if I make it through. But then again, my computer is a Macbook Pro so maybe I should just stick with iPhone for compatibilities sake. :rolleyes:

ambrosse
January 16th, 2015, 03:09
I've never had a smartphone at all. Anything would be an upgrade for me.

Zolrak 22
January 16th, 2015, 03:18
I've never had a smartphone at all. Anything would be an upgrade for me.
You are just preciously old timey ain't you? [emoji14]


Edit: I remember the first time I had a smartphone, it was so alien to me.

ambrosse
January 16th, 2015, 04:15
You are just preciously old timey ain't you? [emoji14]


Edit: I remember the first time I had a smartphone, it was so alien to me.

I'm trying to hold onto the old days for as long as possible!

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 16th, 2015, 08:31
I've never had a smartphone at all. Anything would be an upgrade for me.

I was exactly the same, and actually resisted getting a smartphone when I arrived... Until I was forced to get one, and then realized just how useful it was, especially in a foreign country.

ambrosse
January 16th, 2015, 08:35
I was exactly the same, and actually resisted getting a smartphone when I arrived... Until I was forced to get one, and then realized just how useful it was, especially in a foreign country.

I would get a smartphone in a heartbeat if I went overseas.

SomePeopleJustSaySnow
January 16th, 2015, 08:39
You're more sensible than I was.

ambrosse
January 16th, 2015, 08:41
You're more sensible than I was.

I need mah maps.

Penguee
January 16th, 2015, 10:52
Also, just so everyone knows, once you come to Japan there is a big chance that you will not be able to get a phone on a payment plan. Why? Well, you have no credit history, that's why. So either apply and have your cell phone put on a foreign credit card every month or be ready to plunk down the entire price of the phone (8 man en or more) at the time of signing. Just a heads up for everyone.

AyaReiko
January 16th, 2015, 11:15
Also, just so everyone knows, once you come to Japan there is a big chance that you will not be able to get a phone on a payment plan. Why? Well, you have no credit history, that's why. So either apply and have your cell phone put on a foreign credit card every month or be ready to plunk down the entire price of the phone (8 man en or more) at the time of signing. Just a heads up for everyone.

Or you could be super lucky and find something on sale. My friend found an iPhone something for 2 man, I think! But yeah, don't count on it...

sharpinthefang
January 16th, 2015, 13:03
I've always had an iPhone but I'm kind of interested in looking at the Samsung Galaxy phones if I make it through. But then again, my computer is a Macbook Pro so maybe I should just stick with iPhone for compatibilities sake. :rolleyes:
Not many (if any) samsungs in my part of Japan. I don't honestly know if they sell them over here. Someone care to enlighten me?

Ini
January 16th, 2015, 14:07
Yes they [lov]ing sell galaxy phones. They arent normally in the 100yen shop so that might explain why you havent seen them

Gizmotech
January 16th, 2015, 15:18
My iphone 4 (first smart phone) was the only reason I did any travelling in Japan in my first few months. It gave me the safety net I needed where ever I was so that I didn't need to worry.

webstaa
January 16th, 2015, 15:31
If you have trouble getting a cell phone, have your supervisor come with you to a shop with your contract paperwork. You might be limited as to what payment plans you can do, but there should be a 12 month option (to match your contract.) If you have the money, buy it up front and don't worry about paying for a replacement after 18 months.

johnny
January 26th, 2015, 00:49
I bought my iPhone 5 outright. It only cost me 5 man. It was well worth the money.

webstaa
January 26th, 2015, 09:33
I bought my iPhone 5 outright. It only cost me 5 man. It was well worth the money.

At least with 'campaign' phones, it's often cheaper to do the payment plan (with the campaign 'rebate.') This does bite you in the butt if you upgrade your phone - you have to pay the full remainder - you lose the rebate when you change handsets. Also not having to deal with that shit if you have to go back home suddenly.