I recently went through the troubles of setting up internet and getting a new phone in Japan. Hopefully, this article might make it a little easier for you.
To get internet in Japan is a pretty slow process. It may take a whole month and you may be required to have work done in your house. To make things even more confusing, the company who provides your line and the company who provides your internet are often completely different companies.
This all seemed like a pain and I really didn’t want to wait a whole month, so I went with the wifi option.
If you go with the wifi option, you’ll get sent a small device within a couple of days that allows you to use wifi in your home (or wherever you wish to take the small, battery-charged device).
I assume it works pretty much in the same way mobile data works, only it’s not as expensive. I chose the giga-hodai (unlimited giga) plan from UQ Mobile. It gives me 10 gigabytes to use every 3-days, but once you go over your cap, you will find your internet speed drop (but you can still use it).
UQ has an ongoing campaign where the device itself is free of charge, saving you a few hundred bucks on the first payment. If you pay with a credit card, there are also some other cool offers you can get.
There are a few companies doing very similar services to UQ, so you should shop around for when suits your needs the most.
I also need a new phone (as well as cheap network carrier). Once again, I chose UQ Mobile for this. The reason for this was that no credit card was required, and similar to their internet service, they are also doing a campaign where the mobile phone is free of charge (108 yen to be exact) if you sign up for Plan M or larger.
For this, you will need a bank account and some Japanese ID that doesn’t expire for at least 2-years (resident card, driving license).
My resident card only had 1 year on it, so I got a driving license instead. For a guide on how to do that, click here.
However, if you pay with a credit card, you’ll also be applicable for some pretty cool campaigns.
The plan I chose gives me 6 GB a month (increased from 3), and 120 minutes free. This cost 3200 yen/month plus I opted in for device insurance (500 yen/month). Considering the phone itself (I chose Sharp Aquos Sense) is free, the price isn’t too bad. After 14-months, the price will increase by 1000 yen/month (so I believe it might be best to opt out of the contract after 2-years and re-enter a contract with better deals). I will also apply for the family discount, so I’ll get -500 yen/month to the final price.
It may sound expensive, but considering the standard price for a phone and contract was around 10,000 yen/month – Japan is making progress!
Campaigns can save you a lot of money, so be prepared to shop around. UQ currently has campains such as “the device is free”, “introduce a friend”, “pay with a credit card”, “apply for both UQ broadband and UQ mobile”, and “double data free”, “family discount”.
Some level of Japanese (or a Japanese friend) is required to get you through this much easier. Anything to do with contracts and campaigns is a headache, regardless of the language.
NOTE: If applying for UQ Mobile, not that there are subtle differences between the offers, plans, and campains between the UQ Mobile Communications website and UQ Mobile Store website. (If you type UQ Mobile in English, the first Google result is the communications website – I DON’T recommend this one).