Buying a SIM card in Japan

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Buying a SIM card in Japan


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Old 13th August 2008, 08:02 PM
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Default Buying a SIM card in Japan

Hi, I wonder if anyone can help me out here? I shall be visiting Japan for a couple of weeks later this year. I will need to use my phone for large amounts of time while in Japan.

Can anybody give me any information on buying a local SIM card when I arrive in Japan? My phone is dual band and will work in Japan (I hope). I just need to know about local SIM charges and where to buy etc.

Also, as I will be receiving a large amount of international calls, I want, if possible, a SIM provider that doesn't charge for in-coming calls.

Many thanks for any replies.

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Old 14th August 2008, 05:55 AM
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My advice would be to rent a phone. There are several places online where they will deliver to Narita (or some other airport in Japan) and you just drop the phone and stuff in the mail on your way back. Japan's phone system is not compatable with the Stateside instruments, the last I knew. You can buy phones here in Japan that will work with a SIM card on a GSM system but the reverse is not true (or wasn't the last I knew).

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Old 14th August 2008, 08:00 PM
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Thanks Lara.

Yes, I have been told on another forum that renting a phone for my stay is the best option. Is there any company you would recommend?

Thanks.

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Old 15th August 2008, 07:38 AM
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Do the rental phones charge for incoming calls?

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Old 15th August 2008, 04:12 PM
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I believe they charge for calls in both directions. I rented one for my 18-yr-old son when he came to visit me here and it was invaluable. When I get some time, I'll try to dig through my old mails (this was almost a year ago) and post the name of the place I used. I found them through a google search.

The interesting thing is that the guy wanted me to call him because my address was in Japan but my credit card was a US-based account. The guy was a bit self-centered and didn't much care to chat beyond confirming that I was real. He spotted that I used a throw-away email address and when I told him I did that as a spam prevention measure, he launched into a lecture about how *they* don't spam. Well, that wasn't the issue -- he had asked why I used a throw-away address. Anyway, once he confirmed I was not pulling a fast one, the promised FAX copy of the waybill was sent within the hour, the phone was there when I went to pick it up, there was a prepaid envelope in which I could drop it off 2 weeks later, the phone worked flawlessly, and the bill was exactly what I expected.

I definately *will* find the reference within the next couple days.

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Old 26th August 2008, 11:23 AM
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I rented a mobile from Softbank from 26th July to 8th Aug this year, they have offices at airports as Larabell says where you can pick up and drop off the phones. As I recall no charge for incoming calls (certainly domestic but you can check the companies website), rental was about 250 y/day with a further 200 y/day for insurance. Calls 100 y/min (no fractions, full mins only), e-mails 15 y/mail.
Try your arrival airport website for links to phone rental companies.

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Old 9th September 2008, 04:19 PM
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Thanks for all your replies. In the end I have arranged to hire a SIM card from softbank at Narita airport.

My phone is infact a quad band and not dual band so will work on the Japanese 3g network.

Incomming calls are free which is a bonus.

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Old 10th September 2008, 12:59 AM
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Can you let us know later if it works and, if so, what model of phone you have. I get asked about this occasionally but don't know anyone who's actually been able to use a non-Japanese phone in Japan. Thanks...

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Old 10th September 2008, 09:11 AM
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Make sure you have your phone unlocked. Even then it may not work. I had mine altered in Thailand because unlocked didn't really mean unlocked.

Most US phones are locked into a certain provider, and the other bands can only be used for the foreign service offered by your provider. Roaming charges would apply.

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Old 17th November 2008, 04:14 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by larabell View Post
Can you let us know later if it works and, if so, what model of phone you have. I get asked about this occasionally but don't know anyone who's actually been able to use a non-Japanese phone in Japan. Thanks...
Sorry for this late reply, but I hope it's helpful anyway. I have been able to use my non-Japanese phone in Japan.

First of all, the phone must be able to operate on WCDMA (sometimes called 3G). A phone which is billed as "quad band" can generally do this. Some examples are the Nokia N95, Sony Ericsson P910, etc. Foreign Blackberries don't work (although DoCoMo plans to support them soon).

Secondly, you must either rent a Japanese-registered SIM card at the airport when you arrive (Softbank is the cheapest) and replace your domestic SIM with it OR register your existing domestic monthly-contract SIM with a Japanese network (e.g. Vodafone Japan can do this). In the latter case, you will be able to retain your own home-country phone number, albeit at greater expense-per-call -- however you can only do this if you have contract (pay-monthly) with your home-country network : anonymous pay-as-you-go SIM cards from your home country cannot be registered with Japanese networks (national security law).

Hope this helps.

Now, Korea is a different story...

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