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Prepaid SIM discussion (consolidated)

Prepaid SIM discussion (consolidated)

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Old Jul 5, 17, 2:52 pm   -   Wikipost
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Old Apr 21, 15, 12:53 pm
  #196  
 
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I have a boingo account which gets me WiFi access with all of the major WiFi service providers in Japan. We'll be in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto with side trips to country areas. Do I need a SIM as well? If so with an iPhone 5, what's the best data option that support VoIP or App like Viber?
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Old Apr 21, 15, 3:07 pm
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Originally Posted by EXPLAT View Post
I have a boingo account which gets me WiFi access with all of the major WiFi service providers in Japan. We'll be in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto with side trips to country areas. Do I need a SIM as well? If so with an iPhone 5, what's the best data option that support VoIP or App like Viber?
If you only need WiFi, you shouldn't need a SIM.

A viber/Line app works fine even under T-mobile's throttled overseas data, so as long as you're receiving data they should be fine, in my experience.
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Old Apr 21, 15, 9:45 pm
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Do you need live geo-located maps? Google Maps and Here don't offer Japan maps offline caching for legal reasons. You can still download OpenStreetMap data with some offline map apps but you may not have location pins or an easy/quick way to enter the addresses without a Japanese keyboard installed.

A mobile data connection might come in useful for Kyoto and country areas. You can usually use the wifi at a combini through boingo which I think uses wi2/docomo or by registering an account ahead of time for free. It can feel like a combini is on every corner in Japan, which can be true in certain areas, but more remote areas may not have any or just a few.

If you just want to make VOIP phone calls to outside the country, wifi should be fine. Many newer business hotels have wifi but a small inexpensive travel router occasionally comes in handy.

B-Mobile 14 day prepaid sim does not support VOIP.
http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/english/faq.html

IIJMio visitor sim doesn't expressly prohibit VOIP
https://t.iijmio.jp/en/qa/index.html
So-net visitor sim doesn't expressly prohibit VOIP
http://www.so-net.ne.jp/prepaid/en/index.html#faq
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Old Apr 22, 15, 9:53 pm
  #199  
 
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Sakura WiFi

I just ordered the Sakura MiFi mentioned in an earlier post for 5800 yen including tax. This is for 3gb over two weeks. Didn't want to mess up my iPhone settings and this way I can tether all of our iPhones and iPad to the MiFi when there's no WiFi signal. They mail it to the post office in Terminal 2 at Narita a couple of days before our arrival.
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Old May 24, 15, 3:56 am
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I don't think this has been discussed yet, but another option (if you're passing through HKG) is to buy a Three Roaming Data SIM that has unlimited data roaming for a set number of days ($248 HKD for 4 days, $298 HKD for 7), a CSL APEC SIM with 500mb/5days for $198 HKD, or to buy a Japan 7-day 5GB SIM from China Unicom HK for $298 HKD. The benefits are described here:

http://hktravelblog.com/japan/japan-...ming-sim-card/

The APEC card (Good for Japan, Taiwan, Macau, China, Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia):

http://www.hkcsl.com/en/APAC-Roaming-Prepaid-SIM-Card/

Three Roaming Data SIM:

https://www.three.com.hk/website/app...54001&lang=eng


I'm considering picking up one of these for my next trip to Japan/Korea so I don't have to worry about the hassle of buying one in country.
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Old May 24, 15, 4:49 am
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Another option is to go to Ap Liu Street in Hong Kong and get a China Unicom Japan Fuji card for $130 (7 days data, 1.8 GB).

If you know Chinese, go to Taobao and search for the Fuji card in Chinese, and you will get the same card for CNY 75.
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Old May 25, 15, 5:02 pm
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SOME China Unicom cards provision the service behind the great firewall of China. Beware..
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Old May 26, 15, 3:20 am
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Originally Posted by beep88 View Post
SOME China Unicom cards provision the service behind the great firewall of China. Beware..
Not those Fuji card - they particularly stated FB friendly I saw a lot of people wrote in various forums and they all said it worked fine.
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Old May 26, 15, 3:54 am
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But note that these cheaper SIM cards re-route the traffic back to their origin before going to Internet, which can be slow. Plus they normally use softbank and may not have a great connection as docomo
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Old May 27, 15, 4:33 pm
  #205  
 
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Originally Posted by djtsukasa View Post
T-mobile Simple choice plan does wonders...
When it works... See here where mine worked for about 6 days and then only worked sporadically
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/24878042-post913.html

Originally Posted by msb0b View Post
NTT Communications is getting in the SIM card vending machine business. As of March 24th, the vending machine in Odaiba is operational. The vending machine in KIX will come online on March 26. Other airports are under negotiation. SIM cards will be priced from 3000 to 4000 yen, and will require internet access for registration and activation.

http://www.asahi.com/articles/ASH3S62H8H3SULFA02F.html

Why Odaiba?
I was in Odaiba so went to Aqua City after 9 pm in search of the machine. I did not find it, but some floors were closed off since it was after retail hours and I only wandered 4th floor (connected to the walkways for Yurikamome) & up some escalator banks. Dining locations were still open so there was access to some parts of the center. However, as a tourist, the logical points to look would be the public transit entry (for individual travelers) or bus/parking (for groups which let off here).

On the Wifi front:
Docomo Visitor Wifi vs Travel Japan Premium code
http://visitor.docomowifi.com/en/
http://wi2.co.jp/tjw/english.html

Docomo Visitor Wifi ~ 1,500 yen for 3 weeks
Pros:
Does not require app install
Should work for laptops (I did not test this)

Cons:
Infuriating setup on iPhone as you really need to print out the login & account info for setup due to all the page swapping cancelling out the initial wifi connection.
0000docomo SSID available at about 60% of the spots where wi2* was available, so less coverage
0000docomo wouldn't always log in with SSID security key which worked at other 0000docomo locations.
Only one account can be connected to the network at a time, but can be setup on more than one device

Travel Japan Wifi Premium Code
Pros:
Coverage was good in tourist corridors, public transportation, and near combini. Works both in Tokyo and Hokkaido airports CTS, AKJ.
Wifi latching was reasonably quick but not always automatic, since wi2 provides access to several ssids.
Premium code available at Haneda from automated kiosk next to Keikyu transit office, near a standalone 7-11 bank atm (Behind you in the hallway if you stand at the counter, nestled into the corridor). This required a passport scan. Also available in a brochure & code format from Donki if you show them the Travel Japan webpage and get someone who knows what you're asking for. I first asked two English speaking ladies at the Tax Free counter who insisted they weren't part of the program. Then I pulled up the page and showed it to the next counter who simply handed me a brochure with code inside. She didn't ask for a passport.
Japan Air also provides premium codes for free if you have flights booked on JAL
"Free" premium codes - though keep in mind it installs a profile on iPhone and apps on both, plus requires an identity login. Access is sponsored so they have a good reason to track usage. They do offer a terms and conditions page which must be accepted prior to usage.

Cons:
Requires app install and usage to sign into the wifi networks on iPhone and Android
Requires Google or Facebook login to activate initial free account. *
* - App install & premium code requires wifi or mobile connection, so you need a connection in order to get access.
Mobile only
Does not specify how many devices can be connected to system with same premium code.

Note: YMMV on how many spots are covered by Wi2 vs docomo, but in my use around metro/JR stations and common tourists areas including airport trains, wi2 had more available SSIDs AND the login worked.
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Old May 28, 15, 4:30 am
  #206  
 
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Originally Posted by freecia View Post
Note: YMMV on how many spots are covered by Wi2 vs docomo, but in my use around metro/JR stations and common tourists areas including airport trains, wi2 had more available SSIDs AND the login worked.
My experience matched yours, especially outside of Tokyo. Note that JAL's free option includes either a code good for 2 weeks on the TJW app, or a wi2 login good for a week that you can use on any device and doesn't require app installation. If you have access to the JAL codes and you're only going to be using it for a few days, I would recommend the latter.
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Old Jun 5, 15, 11:35 pm
  #207  
 
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My brand new bmobile card says "great for Skype" so there must be some sort of policy change. Works fine for me now.
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Old Jun 8, 15, 5:08 pm
  #208  
 
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Originally Posted by BobbySteel View Post
My brand new bmobile card says "great for Skype" so there must be some sort of policy change. Works fine for me now.
The 300bps card "U300" simply could not possibly support Skype due to bandwidth. It still says VOIP not recommended.

http://www.bmobile.ne.jp/l_u300/faq.html#q07
メールやWebブラウジングに最適化したものとなりますので、VoIPや動画のご利用には適し ておりません


All current and obsolete B-Mobile cards available to tourists other than "U300" always supported VOIP. I have used them since they first launched the tourist products.
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Old Jun 21, 15, 3:12 pm
  #209  
 
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What speeds are you getting with the $5 Sprint japan add-on?

Originally Posted by msp3 View Post
It's weird they don't publicize this, especially since SoftBank does it so much on their side, this is a huge deal for anyone who travels between the US and Japan.
The best part is that this is an unlimited plan meaning unlimited worldwide calling, data and text for only the $5 add on. I had my doubts due to the lack of details on the plan literature, but I chatted with an international Sprint customer care agent and she confirmed that it's an unlimited plan while in Japan on Softbank.

What data speeds are people getting with the Sprint $5 add on Japan plan? One poster on Howardforums says they did not get above 500kb in Tokyo. That part would suck, but for $5 and unlimited everything else, it may the price we pay.

I still remember paying $2/minute just to check my voice mail a few years ago while on a CDMA phone!
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Old Jun 24, 15, 1:04 am
  #210  
 
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Originally Posted by EXPLAT View Post
I have a boingo account which gets me WiFi access with all of the major WiFi service providers in Japan. We'll be in Tokyo, Osaka and Kyoto with side trips to country areas. Do I need a SIM as well? If so with an iPhone 5, what's the best data option that support VoIP or App like Viber?
If you're planning to use Boingo in Japan, go to the "settings" and then "help" in the Boingo app. There you will find a list of WPA2 keys to connect to the various wifi networks (NTT Docomo, Mobilepoint). All the McDonald's in Tokyo I have visited had Mobilepoint wifi. A lot of the coffee places and restaurants had them too. Boingo was successful in connecting about 50% of the time, even at NRT, on their own network!!

Starbucks has their own free network. Go here to sign up before you start your trip.

Last edited by abraxis; Jun 24, 15 at 1:22 am
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