English Guide to au’s Mobile Plans | Prices, Reviews, and How to Apply

English Guide to au’s Mobile Plans | Prices, Reviews, and How to Apply

“I am interested in au’s Mobile Plans and have read the homepage but it is too difficult to understand…”

This might be what you’re thinking.

In this article, we are going to explain the plans that au provides in a simple and easy-to-understand way (the unlimited data plan and the small data plan).

After reading this article, you will understand the cost, network speed, coverage, and other things you should know before registering for an au cellphone plan.

Read ahead!

Related article

If you are interested in the best SIM cards and phone plans in Japan, check out this article!

Table of contents

  1. What au plans are available?
  2. Connection speed with au
  3. What is au’s coverage?
  4. Is English support available?
  5. How do I register for au?
  6. If you are looking for simple phone plans in Japan

1. What au plans are available?

What au plans are available?
au offers two main plans.

  • Unlimited Data MAX Plan 5G (Japanese: 使い放題MAX 5G)
  • Adjust Plan 5G (Japanese: ピタットプラン 5G)

*au offers 4G versions of these same two plans. The costs are the same, so we will only be introducing the 5G plans in this article. If your smartphone does not support 5G, you will be looking at getting a 4G plan.

As expected from the name, the Unlimited Data MAX Plan 5G has unlimited data available.

On the other hand, the Adjust Plan 5G is a pay-as-you-go system and you can use a maximum of 7GB monthly. For people who use less than that, we recommend this plan as it is cheaper.

Below is a breakdown of all the fees included in each plan.

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Plan namesUnlimited data MAX Plan 5GAdjust Plan 5G
Monthly fees7,238 JPY4GB - 7GB: 6,765 JPY
1GB - 4GB: 5,115 JPY
Less than 1GB: 3,465 JPY
Allocated dataUnlimited data7GB/month
If you used up 7GB per month, your
speed will be restricted to 128kbps.
Calling feeDomestic calls: 22 JPY/30sec.
International calls: 20 JPY/30sec.
Domestic calls: 22 JPY/30sec.
International calls: 20 JPY/30sec.
SMS (text) feeDomestic SMS 3.3 JPY/30sec.
International SMS: 100 JPY/30sec.
Domestic SMS 3.3 JPY/30sec.
International SMS: 100 JPY/30sec.
TetheringUp to 30GB/monthUp to 7GB/ month

*Tax is included.

It might be a bit difficult to understand, but in the Adjust Plan 5G, the fees change according to the amount of data used.

For example, when the monthly data usage is from 1GB to 4GB the bill will be 5,115 JPY.

With the Unlimited Data MAX Plan 5G, there are options to include unlimited Netflix and other streaming services.

Take note that these will cost extra if you are planning on using them.

This also only applies to Japan’s Netflix so please be careful.

If you want to save money then we also recommend Sakura Mobile.

  • 4GB and 25GB Plans from 2,980 JPY/month
  • docomo’s fast 4G LTE network
  • Full English support 7 days a week
  • Online order and next day shipping
  • Japanese phone number

Check out our plans here!

Calling and SMS (text) fees

As shown in the above table, the calling fee and the SMS (text) fees regardless of the plan are as shown below.

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Calling feeDomestic calling fees: 22 JPY/30sec.
International calling fees: 20 JPY/30sec.
Incoming calls are all free.
SMS (text) feeDomestic calling fees: 3.3 JPY/each SMS
International calling fees: 100 JPY/each SMS
Incoming SMS are all free.

You may already know this, but by using apps like LINE or Skype, you can save money on your monthly phone bill. This is because calls made using these apps are included in your mobile data usage instead of being counted in your calling fee.

If you do not have a preference between using an app versus using your smartphone’s built-in calling functions, we recommend using these apps.

For people who want to make domestic calls regularly, we recommend buying one of the add-ons shown below.

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Add-on nameFeesService details
Flat rate calling1,700 JPY/monthDomestic calling is available 24/7
Flat rate calling lite700 JPY/monthOne domestic call under 5 mins.
is available 24/7

SMS fees depend on the number of words in your message—the more words, the higher the fee. Again, if you use the LINE app for messages you will not be charged any additional SMS fees.

For people wondering about SMS fees, please check out the link below.

International calling fees

The international calling fees are different for various countries.

For reference, we have picked some countries as examples.

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Country nameCalling fees/30 seconds
United States of America20 JPY
Canada20 JPY
Taiwan55 JPY
Indonesia65 JPY
United Kingdom65 JPY
Germany65 JPY
France65 JPY

For people who want to know more about the international calling fees please check the official au site.

International roaming fee

An International roaming fee is a fee that is incurred when people who have their smartphone registered to an au plan use it in a country other than Japan.

With au, you can apply for what is called the World Flat Rate Data plan.

What is the World Flat Rate Data plan?

This plan allows users to use their smartphones in over 150 countries for a flat monthly rate.

If you pre-register in Japan, the rate is 490 JPY to 690 JPY per 24 hours. If you have not pre-registered then the rate is 980 JPY per 24 hours.

Voice Calling, Video Calling, SMS (C mail) / International SMS will require a separate fee.

The amount of data used during the time you are on the World Flat Rate Data plan will be deducted normally as if you are using data in Japan. If you do not have the Unlimited Data Plan, be careful of using too much data.

To view the countries that apply to this plan, please check the official website.

If you are making calls to countries that are not Japan, the calling fees will change depending on where you are making the call to. To check the fees, we recommend contacting au beforehand.

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2. Connection speed with au

Connection speed with au
au is one of the three biggest carriers in Japan with a high-quality, high-speed network.

Below are the au network speeds given on the official website.

iOS’s Effective Speed (Download): 88Mbps~170Mbps
iOS’s Effective Speed (Upload): 13Mbps~28Mbps

Source: au official site

This is calculated based on data measured in 10 cities in Japan according to guidelines set by the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications.

With speeds this fast, anyone using the internet will not have any problems.

For your reference, here are the speeds that are necessary to complete different actions using the internet.

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ActivityNecessary
Internet Speed
4K Videos/Online Games25 Mbps
Online Meetings10 Mbps
Video Streaming (1080p)5 Mbps
Video Streaming (720p)3 Mbps
Web Browsing/Emails/LINE1 Mbps

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3. What is au’s coverage?

What is au's coverage?
au’s network covers 99 percent of the populated area in the country.

People using smartphones will not usually have any troubles.

However, it should be noted that the network connection may become weaker in places like rural areas, underground, or in buildings with thick walls.

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4. Is English support available?

Is English support available?
Only one part of the official au website is written in English.

For those who want to register in English, we recommend going to an au shop.

Some au shops have staff who can speak English.

Just in case, it would be better to make a reservation before visiting the shop.

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5. How do I register for au?

How do I register for au?
There are 2 ways to register for an au plan. You can either register on the website or at the shop.

As mentioned above, we recommend going to the shop if you want English support.

If you register online, the initial 5,000 to 10,000 JPY registration fee will be waived. For people who understand Japanese, we recommend registering online.

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6. If you are looking for phone plans in Japan with English support

If you need English support with your phone service
If you’re looking for an affordable phone plan that can be used in Japan, consider Sakura Mobile.

Features of Sakura Mobile’s long-term SIM card plan:

  • 4GB and 25GB Plans from 2,980 JPY/month
  • docomo’s fast 4G LTE network
  • Full English support 7 days a week
  • Online order and next day shipping
  • Japanese phone number

Sakura Mobile was founded in the year 2014 and up until now has provided cell phone service to more than 10,000 international visitors and residents in Japan.

We do not have an unlimited data plan, but instead offer two plans (4GB and 25GB) with affordable costs available.

Sakura Mobile is an MVNO (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) on the docomo network, so you can enjoy a high-speed network that is available all over Japan.

For more information take a look here.

Related article

If you are interested in the best SIM cards and phone plans in Japan, check out this article!

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