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Thread: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

  1. #1

    Default Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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.

  2. #2
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    ... I understood about 3% of what you just wrote, but do have a relevant question - how long are you planning to stay here?

  3. #3

    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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.

  4. #4
    Ghost of Ecru SomePeopleJustSaySnow's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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!

  5. #5
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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/deta...&categoryName=
    Last edited by therealwindycity; April 11th, 2014 at 17:01.

  6. #6
    Senior Member zombiekelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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.)
    Quote Originally Posted by word View Post
    Beaming down a rainbow into a San Francisco apparently inhabited exclusively by The Village People? It really says it all about Star Trek, imho.

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    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by zombiekelly View Post

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

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

    come again?
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  8. #8

    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by therealwindycity View Post
    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
    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.

  9. #9
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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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  10. #10
    Senior Member zombiekelly's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by Ini View Post
    come again?
    At least with me I had to jump through hoops, wait a few hours, pay phone in full, etc.

  11. #11
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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.
    Great men of action never mind on occasion being ridiculous; in a sense it is part of their job.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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).

  14. #14

    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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.

  15. #15
    keepin' it real ihatefall's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by Jiggit View Post
    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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  16. #16
    Senior Moment Antonath's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by ihatefall View Post
    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.
    ...because Japan.

  17. #17
    Junior Member Yunishkai's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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:

  18. #18
    Sociopathic Scroogemcduck MJN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoobyDoobyBoob View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoobyDoobyBoob View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoobyDoobyBoob View Post
    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.

    Quote Originally Posted by ScoobyDoobyBoob View Post
    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.
    Last edited by MJN; April 23rd, 2014 at 17:03.
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  19. #19

    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    Quote Originally Posted by MJN View Post
    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.

  20. #20
    Sociopathic Scroogemcduck MJN's Avatar
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    Default Re: Phone Situation Upon Arriving

    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)
    Last edited by MJN; April 23rd, 2014 at 16:59.
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