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Thread: Cell phones in Japan

  1. #1

    Default Cell phones in Japan

    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.

  2. #2
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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.
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  3. #3

    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by weepinbell View Post
    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.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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.

    2. Check which carrier's LTE you can connect to in Japan. (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.)

    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.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by webstaa View Post
    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.

  6. #6

    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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.)

  7. #7
    Billy Big Bollocks Ini's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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.
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  8. #8
    Comrade therealwindycity's Avatar
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    Default Cell phones in Japan

    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.
    Last edited by therealwindycity; November 21st, 2014 at 14:14.

  9. #9
    Member lulabelle990's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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

  10. #10
    Senior Member Penguee's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by lulabelle990 View Post
    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.

  11. #11
    Feckless Manchild Otaku word's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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.
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  12. #12
    Constant Fu*kup sharpinthefang's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    double word, think of phones as what you would have thrown away 5-10 years ago.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thomas_Simmons View Post
    shit, i've realize that i picked the wrong time to reply directly the thread's original question...

  13. #13
    Member lulabelle990's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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

  14. #14

    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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

  15. #15
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    Never had an IPhone...

    I guess I prefer the Android benefits.

  16. #16
    Senior Member PuddingHead's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    Never had an IPhone...

    I guess I prefer the Android benefits.
    Ditto.

  17. #17
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    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.

  18. #18
    Senior Member ambrosse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    I've never had a smartphone at all. Anything would be an upgrade for me.

  19. #19
    The Sun's Bird God..what? Zolrak 22's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by ambrosse View Post
    I've never had a smartphone at all. Anything would be an upgrade for me.
    You are just preciously old timey ain't you?


    Edit: I remember the first time I had a smartphone, it was so alien to me.
    Last edited by Zolrak 22; January 16th, 2015 at 03:22.

  20. #20
    Senior Member ambrosse's Avatar
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    Default Re: Cell phones in Japan

    Quote Originally Posted by Zolrak 22 View Post
    You are just preciously old timey ain't you?


    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!

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