For many of us, our phones are the most important devices we own. They are vital for checking the weather, searching for jobs and keeping up with friends. No matter where we are in the world, fast and reliable communication is important for our everyday lives.
Reliable mobile internet becomes a necessity when you move abroad. Suddenly your phone becomes the key to surviving. Translation, accessing maps and apartment hunting are only some of the things you will come to rely on a smartphone for.
But if you are living in Japan, a smartphone is only useful if it is connected to the internet.
2-Year Mobile Contracts in Japan
Mobile contracts in Japan are typically no shorter than 2 years, and come with a huge number of clauses and restrictions. They are designed to trick native speakers, and as such, they are difficult to read. Few (if any) are available in English.
If you have only just arrived to Japan, you will struggle to understand exactly what you are signing up for, which can make the arrival of your first phone bill a nerve-wracking experience.
If you already have a compatible phone, then NTT DoCoMo will charge up to 2,700 yen just for the SIM card, which only allows for voice calls and does not include messaging or voicemail. If you want the option to use the internet, it will cost an extra 2,900 yen for 1GB per month.
Traditional mobile phone carriers tack on as many needless charges and discounts as possible to maximize profits. Walking into a mobile phone store in Japan is like walking into a used car showroom, with the added pressure of everything being in a foreign language.
Japan Mobile Contract Cancellation Fees
Cancellation fees are among the most nefarious hidden expenses. If you sign a 2-year contract you might think that any cancellation fees will be waived after the 2 years are up. This is not always the case.
Cancellation fees usually equal the number of months left in your contract, but there are sometimes charges for not renewing a contract. When it comes time to move on it may well come as a surprise that you have incurred additional fees for no reason.
If you want to avoid the hassle then it might be easier to sign up online, but this might not be feasible if you cannot read Japanese. Even if there is an English language website the payment systems are likely to be in Japanese. This is also true for support, where English language options are limited.
Depending on your visa status and your address, it may not be possible to sign up online at all.
If you are coming to Japan by yourself there are additional hurdles. Everything in Japan requires a phone number. Renting an apartment, signing up to a gym or registering at your local tax office all require a valid phone number, which is a problem because you will need a valid address and phone number in order to get a phone. This catch 22 is difficult to avoid unless you have friends and family living nearby who are willing to let you use their address and number
No More Confusing Japan Mobile Contracts with Sakura Mobile
Luckily, you can escape the Japan mobile phone contract nightmare with affordable, and more importantly understandable plans from Sakura Mobile.
Monthly plans start from 2,980 yen, which includes 3GB of data and 30 minutes of calls. The one-time activation fee of 5,000 yen covers all costs and charges no matter how long you use their services, so you do not have to worry about sudden changes in your bill. Another highlight of their service is that there are no cancellation fees, unlike the major Japanese mobile service providers.
A voice and data SIM from Sakura Mobile will give you a Japanese phone number, which is crucial for starting your new life in Japan.
With the voice and data SIM you gain access to the Sakura Mobile’s 691 service. This gives you reduced rate calls to selected countries around the world, perfect for when you may not have reliable internet service.
At Sakura Mobile, there are no two-year contracts. You pay by the month, so switching between plans is easy. If you find yourself using more or less data than you expected you can change your plan quickly and easily. Support is available in English from start to finish.
Sakura Mobile SIMs use the 4G LTE NTT DoCoMo network, which is the largest in Japan. It is a great way to get the benefits of using Japans biggest network without ridiculous contract terms, hidden fees and cancellation costs.
Sakura Mobile long-term voice SIMS are compatible with a variety of phones and are quick and easy to install, but if are unsure whether your device is compatible or you do not need a Japanese mobile phone number you can also try a Sakura Mobile Pocket WiFi router.
These devices connect to the SoftBank network and offer speeds up to 612Mb/s over 4G LTE. If you are happy to use an IP based phone number, like those offered by Skype, this might be a great alternative to a voice and data SIM card.
Mobile WiFi routers are great for people who want to share connections, or who want to connect other devices like their laptops or tablets. They last for 20 hours on a single charge and can be charged with USB phone chargers and batteries.
With Sakura Mobile you can get a great deal on a Voice and Data SIM for all your smartphone needs, or a Pocket WiFi router for those who need the convenience of an always-connected WiFi network for all their smart devices.
Sidestep the hassle and expense of a burdensome 2-year contract. Sakura Mobile long-term plans are easy to set up, flexible and reliable, making them the perfect choice for anyone looking to live or work in Japan.