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Prepaid SIM discussion (consolidated)

Old Mar 22, 16, 3:00 am
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Last edit by: stifle
Japan - Prepaid Data SIM Wikia

1) get a SIM before the trip, activate it when you land. you can find japan-specific prepaid SIMs on ebay/amazon/... .Some countries have providers that offer good roaming rates in other countries(eg Starhub in Singapore, Ais Sim2Fly available globally)
2) preorder it, delivered to your hotel
3) preorder it to airport post office, can pick up when you land
4) preorder it, pickup at some airport counter/store
5) at airport/city, find an store/kiosk/vending machine and buy from them
6) Use an app such as Iijmio, Airalo or Ubigi to buy an e-SIM if your phone supports it
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Prepaid SIM discussion (consolidated)

Old Dec 15, 22, 1:42 am
  #691  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,835
Note that I'm using esim.me , not a true esim phone.

See this post for screenshots
https://www.flyertalk.com/forum/34848505-post703.html


Ubigi esim (there's a 10% off code floating around).

Pros:.
  1. 3GB/[email protected]$8 , 10GB/[email protected]$17 , and others. Pretty cheap
  2. exit IP is in Japan (owned by Transactel), so google incognito tab shows me in Japan , but see the ping con below
  3. You can test Ubigi before buying(activate free esim on your phone, make sure you can connect to network), and can purchase data plan without any wifi connection ( use Ubigi data connection to purchase even if u don't have an active plan as long as you activated esim already)
  4. Tethering worked
  5. Zero issues on LTE (phone isn't 5G capable)
  6. Anyone connected thru tethering, can load Ubigi.me webpage on browser without authentication to show leftover data/time (or you can use app)
  7. Ubigi eSIM can be moved to another device (up to 5 times).

Cons:.
  1. ping shows it's proxying via Singapore (meter.net global proxy shows Singapore lowest at 120ms and Japan at 180ms, even if IP geolocates to japan

Others:
  1. cheap for Japan, but not cheap elsewhere. In USA, exit IP was NYC transactel with low ping
  2. ​​​​​​I believe i was connected to softbank but not 100% sure (the network operator shows up as Ubigi)
  3. Based on this, might worth it to activate free Ubigi sim, and use it if you are in a desperate situation (in any supported country) with no wifi access

Airalo ($3 off referral or 10% off code floating around)
Pros.
  1. 20GB /[email protected]$26 is cheapest, 10gb/30day @$18 and 3gb/[email protected]$8.5 is on par with ubigi
  2. App works on non-eSIM phone (it does warn you that phone doesn't support esim... After purchase, you have access to the QR code or manual SM-DP activation code
  3. Tethering worked
Cons
  1. Exit IP is Singapore (Singtel 140ms) , so geolocated stuff might not work as well.
Others
  1. I had poor experience with airalo, not sure if it's related to my use of esim.me
    1. 2 of the 3 phones refuses to work. After toggling airplane mode, LTE connected to KDDI, but disconnect immediately after 5s (i used one of these two phones to load the SM-DP code onto esim.me
    2. DOCOMO refuses to work on any phone even though app says it should
    3. Manual connect to DOCOMO/KDDI did not work
    4. Third phone connected to KDDI, but periodic issues (1-3 times a day, full signal/bars, but data stuck. Cycling airplane mode would work). One time inside don quijote, full signal/bars but no data even after cycling. Softbank via T-Mobile USA worked
LCUF and mhrb like this.

Last edited by paperwastage; Jan 1, 23 at 6:03 pm
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Old Dec 17, 22, 5:22 pm
  #692  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Programs: UA 1K MM, Hilton-Dia, Marriott-G
Posts: 1,479
paperwastage Could you share steps, tools or websites to test out proxy/ping for above for those of us who are less technical? Your analysis is fascinating
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Old Dec 17, 22, 6:35 pm
  #693  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,835
Originally Posted by tide View Post
paperwastage Could you share steps, tools or websites to test out proxy/ping for above for those of us who are less technical? Your analysis is fascinating
This autochooses the closest server (where the website thinks you are on)
https://www.meter.net/ping-test/


this pings a lot of different servers.
https://www.meter.net/tools/world-ping-test/

​​​​​​

This one generally tells you who your ISP is (Singtel mobile or Transactel etc) and geolocation
https://www.whatismyip.com/

Last edited by paperwastage; Dec 17, 22 at 6:47 pm
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Old Dec 17, 22, 11:40 pm
  #694  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Programs: UA 1K MM, Hilton-Dia, Marriott-G
Posts: 1,479
Thanks. Iím having issues with AT&T roaming on docomo. Multiple times during the day, I lose connection for sometimes hours. My iPad (T-Mo) is auto connecting to SoftBank LTE and refuses to roam. I donít recall having such issues before but my last trip was Jan 2020.

IIJMIO (family members) is working fine. so is AIS Sim2Fly
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Old Dec 18, 22, 1:32 am
  #695  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,835
Originally Posted by tide View Post
Thanks. I’m having issues with AT&T roaming on docomo. Multiple times during the day, I lose connection for sometimes hours. My iPad (T-Mo) is auto connecting to SoftBank LTE and refuses to roam. I don’t recall having such issues before but my last trip was Jan 2020.

IIJMIO (family members) is working fine. so is AIS Sim2Fly
How old are the devices?

Not all my devices support all the Japan LTE bands, but most of them should have 1/3/5/8 (typical Asian/European bands).

My TMobile (roaming on softbank) was usually on band 1 , sometimes 41. Other devices can't see band.


if it's connected but no data, likely some type of APN issue. But it's TMobile, so you shouldn't need to change apn
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Old Dec 18, 22, 3:14 am
  #696  
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Programs: UA 1K MM, Hilton-Dia, Marriott-G
Posts: 1,479
Fairly new devices. iPhone 13 pro and similar year iPad pro. Iíve given up. I ordered a mobile hotspot from e-ca. Hopefully thatíll work.

added:
I can tether to IIJMIO and AIS Sim2Fly. IIJMIO appears to require APN (details on their website) to be set before you can tether. After set, personal hotspot toggle shows up

Last edited by tide; Dec 18, 22 at 4:31 am
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Old Dec 18, 22, 5:02 pm
  #697  
 
Join Date: Aug 2009
Location: Germany
Posts: 1,228
IIJMIO eSIM works perfect for my wife and me. We share our data volume. She has a iPhone and I bought a new Google Pixel which both support their eSIM.
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Old Dec 18, 22, 9:12 pm
  #698  
 
Join Date: Jun 2015
Location: SFO
Posts: 135
Originally Posted by tide View Post
Thanks. I’m having issues with AT&T roaming on docomo. Multiple times during the day, I lose connection for sometimes hours. My iPad (T-Mo) is auto connecting to SoftBank LTE and refuses to roam. I don’t recall having such issues before but my last trip was Jan 2020.
I have T-Mobile and was roaming with Internation Pass on my iPhone 12 Pro (US model) toward end of November for a week and everything was fine and without any issue so that's curious. I don't know if T-Mobile tablet / smart device data plan supports roaming though, you might have to check with T-Mobile.
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Old Dec 19, 22, 11:20 am
  #699  
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Posts: 10
Trying to sign-up for an eSim on the https://www.iijmio.jp but getting stuck at the mioID screen. For those who have gone through the sign-up process, how exactly to I get the Kanji, full-width kana, and roman character versions of my name? Also how exactly do I cancel the service, once I return from Japan? I couldn't find that information in this thread. TIA
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Old Dec 19, 22, 5:28 pm
  #700  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: TYO
Posts: 9,285
If the field does not accept Roman letters, go to Google Translate and get a Katakana version of your name, which you should be able to copy and paste into any field that requires double-byte characters.


Katakana for George Conley
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Old Dec 19, 22, 6:58 pm
  #701  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
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Posts: 1,796
Originally Posted by jib71 View Post
Alternatively, if you need a Japanese number, you could try Mobal's 60 day plan. Data is "unlimited" but I don't know if it's throttled after a certain threshold. I expect someone else here will know.
Just for reference, Their website says throttled to 200k after 7GB in a calendar month. Not great.
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Old Dec 19, 22, 7:04 pm
  #702  
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: TYO
Posts: 9,285
Originally Posted by jamar View Post
Just for reference, Their website says throttled to 200k after 7GB in a calendar month. Not great.
If you need a Japanese phone number AND you need more than 7GB in a calendar month, then the Mobal 30GB per month plan is probably your only option.
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Old Dec 19, 22, 7:33 pm
  #703  
 
Join Date: Jun 2012
Posts: 2,835
Originally Posted by paperwastage View Post
This autochooses the closest server (where the website thinks you are on)
https://www.meter.net/ping-test/


this pings a lot of different servers.
https://www.meter.net/tools/world-ping-test/

​​​​​​

This one generally tells you who your ISP is (Singtel mobile or Transactel etc) and geolocation
https://www.whatismyip.com/
​​​​​​some screenshots, hopefully useful

Ubigi - geolocation japan, but singapore had lowest ping.
traceroute using a tool like https://play.google.com/store/apps/d...hl=en_US&gl=US

showed it routing via singapore







Airalo: geo-locate in singapore (SIngtel)


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Old Dec 20, 22, 9:45 am
  #704  
 
Join Date: Mar 2018
Posts: 142
Originally Posted by gobi View Post
I have used Airalo before in Japan and found the experience comparable to SIMs you buy at the airport. The one thing though is it may be going through a Singapore or Malaysian carrier because when you search in google sometimes that local google page comes up instead of the google Japan page. The one thing to remember when activating the eSIM is to turn roaming on for the eSIM. If you use a physical SIM (or even another eSIM) for your primary number, I much prefer using an eSIM to travel because you can still receive calls at your primary number and your whatsapp/facetime/imessage apps can still be used with your primary number while using the eSIM data.
So which networks would you recommend as having superior service?

BTW, there's no need to use an eSIM to still have access to WhatsApp on your normal number.
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Old Dec 20, 22, 7:34 pm
  #705  
 
Join Date: Aug 2008
Programs: HHonors Gold, Marriott Lifetime Gold, IHG Gold, OZ*G, AA Gold, AS MVP
Posts: 1,796
Also, an FYI for anyone on the IIJMio eSIM plan:

There's two tiers of throttling. Once you use up all your high-speed data you get throttled down to 200k. But if you manage to use 366MB of data in 3 days while throttled, it gets throttled down even more to a speed that's "not public" but has caused my phone to think it's not connected to the internet at all at times.
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