October 8, 2010 - kenshinjeff
Prepaid 3G sim / data card / mifi rental in Japan
A guide to getting mobile internet on your device while holidaying in Tokyo:
A standard iPhone4 plan with Softbank costs 1,029Y per month with a cap of 4,410Y per month. The data is really cheap for locals but for us foreigners it’s a tad sad to be connected.
Softbank Prepaid 3G
This is only available to people who are staying in japan for more than 90 days. ie, not a travelling visa. But, it is possible to buy a cheap handset + 2 x 3,000Y bundle at Donkihote, and just use the 3G sim card on your phone. (Or so I have been told).
Just FYI, the data dates for this card is a bit diffferent:
Data communication rates: 16Y/6 sec
So 6,000Y will roughly last you: 37.5mins, I have no idea at all how practical this is because since it’s billed in per 6 seconds interval, I suppose it depends on how many intervals you need to surf properly.
Softbank Phone Rental, 3G/iPhone SIM card rental
Rental for SIM card is 105Y/day
Data rate looks like this: 1packet (128byte)/Y0.32
Also, I read somewhere you’re not supposed to tether with your phone. *rolls eyes*
MiFi Devices for rent
In short, these kind of devices are like a portable wireless routers which you can put in your pocket. It runs on batteries, which you charge in a wall plug or USB. Generally when you turn it on, you will have your own personal wireless access point. So if your laptop or mobile phone has wireless connectivity, you can just connect to your MiFi device, and voila, you will be connected to the Internet.
USB Dongles for rent
In the sunny state of Singapore, we have 3 telcos providing us with ridiculously overpriced telephony plans. Surprisingly, they have alright unlimited roaming plans……
Singtel Data Roam with one flat rate @ SGD $20+20/day
Australia – OPTUS, Hong Kong – CSL, Macau – CTM, Malaysia – Maxis, Philippines – Globe Telecom, Taiwan – Taiwan Mobile, Thailand – AIS, Indonesia – Telkomsel, France – Orange, USA – AT&T, Switzerland – Swisscom, Japan – Softbank
Starhub Dataroaming with Conexus Mobile Alliance @ SGD $15/day
Hong Kong – 3/Hutchison/3DualBand, Indonesia – Indosat, Japan – NTT DoCoMo, Korea – KTF, Philippines – Smart, Taiwan – FarEasTone/KG Telecom, Thailand – True Move, Macau – Hutchison, Vietnam – Vinaphone, Malaysia – DiGi
M1 Unlimited Data Roaming @ SGD $18/day
Malaysia – Celcom, Taiwan – Chunghwa, Bandladesh – Robi, Hongkong – SmarTone, Macau SmarTone, Philippines – Sun, Cambodia – TMIC, Indonesia – XL
Let’s face it, it’s not cheap, and there probably isn’t a real need to be connected to 3G on your mobile/laptop while you’re walking around in Japan. There’s 24hr internet cafes for that, and nothing is more reliable than an actual map, actual reseach and actually getting help from a local.
I usually carry something like this to my hotel, and pay for internet access. If you require maps, they can be cached and marked on the iPhone. And if I really had to, I would rent a MiFi device. Also, I’m not sure if you can hijack a datacard from a rented dongle and use it in your own unlocked MiFi/3G phone for just data access.