Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/4 06:07
Hi all,

I'm planning a month long trip to Japan. I've been reading about all these talk about pocket WIFI and data SIM, but I'm not sure which one is best suitable and most economical for me, so some suggestion will be appreciated.

Here are some info about my planned trip:

Main destinations: Tokyo, Kyoto, Koya-san, Kinosaki Onsen (I do plan on going on some rail road trips too)
Duration: approx. 30 days
Usage: For checking Google maps, making quick calls to hostels or local Japanese phones via Skype or other apps, sending occasional Whatsapp messages, general travel info look up and emergency purposes (may do the occasional photo upload to FB)
Device: Samsung Galaxy s5 (I may bring my laptop, but I expect to be using wifi access in hostels for my laptop)
Other: If there are a lot of data in the plan, I may end up streaming music from Google Play, but that's really not a priority at all

Which option is best for me? And which carrier/provider did you have the best experience with?

Many thanks in advance.
by kooritsuki  

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/4 12:01
If your phone is unlocked than a data sim will probably be most convenient for you. I'd consider bmobile, econnect, so-net, or globaldvancedcommunications. With their new pricing, I'd consider so-net and maybe econnect as they both offer 100mb/day high speed plans for 3000-4000 yen.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/10 00:22
For Japan you can find a lot of options to rent a MiFi or a pocket wifi and the prices are quite competitive.

I'd recommend you check rent-wifi.com - there is also a MiFi rental directory and you can find all providers in Japan, check their offer and prices.

Take care!
by Iulian Boia (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/10 02:36
I just finished paying $104 for a 12510 yen 29-day contract with http://www.globaladvancedcomm.com for my March trip. It cost me less this time for 11 more days than when I went in May! The yen is losing value and unfortunately only those who travel to Japan are happy about it, save a very few others.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/10 03:27
Thanks everyone! Guess I still have lots to think about when it comes to WIFI vs data...

Just wondering though, if I get a data SIM, what are my options for receiving calls?

I do have Skype and Hangout, but I'm from Canada, so I won't be able to get a phone number for my family to call me from a landline.

Of course, I'm not looking to be talking on the phone for an extended time with data. It's more for the times that my family have to get ahold of me for a few minutes and then I'll call them back when I get a WIFI connection later on.
by kooritsuki rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/10 05:46
You can also e-mail or use Messenger if you're on Facebook at all.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/10 10:56
Just wondering though, if I get a data SIM, what are my options for receiving calls?

Get a skypeout or a google voice number. Or if you are more technically inclined then look into voip services.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/10 11:04
I'd recommend you check rent-wifi.com - there is also a MiFi rental directory and you can find all providers in Japan, check their offer and prices.

Hmm, looks more like a very non-inclusive list of paid ads. Plus the prices they quote are way to high as a lot of those look like foreign resellers.

Better stay with one of the more commonly recommended domestic carriers for example bmobile or econnect for sim cards; global advance or pupuru for a mifi.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/11 03:44
"Get a skypeout or a google voice number. Or if you are more technically inclined then look into voip services."

Like I mentioned in my previous post. I'm from Canada, so I can't get a Skype or GV number. :(
by kooritsuki rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/11 04:31
When you say you can't get a Skype number because you're from Canada, does that mean you can't get a Canadian number or that you aren't allowed to get any number? How much of an inconvenience would it be to have a UK or US number?
by .. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/11 11:09
Like I mentioned in my previous post. I'm from Canada, so I can't get a Skype or GV number. :(

Ah yes, I forgot there's no direct Canada skypeout numbers. Would it be practical for you to get a US skypeout or GV number? Meaning, would your family be able to call those numbers for free/cheap? Otherwise I'd go with a Canadian voip number. They're widely available and not too difficult to set up.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/13 06:03
Hmmm... I never really thought about the possibility of getting a US number... perhaps I should consider doing that. In fact, I never knew I am allowed a US number even when I'm from Canada. Interesting, I'll have to look into that.

Thanks!

On another note, how reliable are the Pocket WiFi? I'm now considering bring work with me on my trip and I may need constant internet connection for several hours at a time during weekends to do the work. I'm thinking of bringing a Chromebook with me, which I'll be using MS Office online with. I needed to ensure that I'll always have internet connection, even if, for whatever reason, the internet is down at my accommodations. So if I'll be depending on it to be my WiFi backup.

Has anyone experienced any problems connecting to the internet with their Pocket WiFi?
by kooritsuki rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/13 06:17
Unless you're in the mountains, far away from cell towers and on the Shinkansen where there are many tunnels, you should have no problems with a MiFi (mobile wifi). I've used it from Sapporo to Fukuoka and only the Tokaido Shinkansen around Shin-Fuji, the Tohoku Shinkansen around Fukushima and the Seikan tunnel under water were the only few places I didn't get good/any reception.
by John B digs Japan rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/13 08:28
You might consider getting a Piranha global sim

http://www.piranha-mobile.com/index.php?route=product/category&path=70

While they normally provide a US and UK number, apparently you can also get a Canadian number. Rates are fairly low for both data and voice, and in Japan they use both Docomo and Softbank. Your prepaid balance never expires and you can use the sim in other countries.

by .. (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/15 09:41
I had similar problems. But why do you need a local number to call ? Can't your family call on you on skype or viber. You would have data connection most of the times so you won't miss their call. The other option is for them to send u a message on skype /viber/ what's app. so that you can call back.

I got the econnect data sim. They are the cheapest but speed is ok. Not great but for Google maps and some look ups it's ok. Please note that you can not tether using this sim.

The other option is to get a local sim from NTT or SoftBank for local calling. I used softbank. It's around 110yen per day rental and ~400 yen for admin charges. Again this is useful if you have a spare phone.
by Kiby (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/23 11:04
Is there a cheap way to get a one day internet access in Japan? I will be on transit from 6 AM to 6 PM arriving in Haneda and leaving out from Narita the same day and thinking to get one day access 3G for internet, viber and facebook use.

by john (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/23 11:51
For one day I would go with either paid wifi, or just use free wifi hotspots. Then again, what do you consider cheap access?
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2014/12/27 15:56
Ummm... so generally, is mobile wifi faster or data sim?

@kiby My parents are older, so even if I teach them how to use Skype or Whatsapp, chances are they'll screw up and get stressed out because they couldn't get through to me. So having the option of good old fashion phone call to reach me would be much better for them and for me (so they don't freak out on me). :D
by kooritsuki rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2015/1/4 01:39
Thanks, this thread has been useful :)
by Leroy2015 rate this post as useful

Re: Pocket WIFI or Data SIM 2015/1/5 13:21
Ummm... so generally, is mobile wifi faster or data sim?

Depends on which carriers you are comparing and the devices that you are to use them in, but generally speaking they are the same services so should give the same speeds.

@kiby My parents are older, so even if I teach them how to use Skype or Whatsapp, chances are they'll screw up and get stressed out because they couldn't get through to me. So having the option of good old fashion phone call to reach me would be much better for them and for me (so they don't freak out on me). :D

A rental phone is probably easiest then. You can get ones that allow mobile data if you need that as well. Some services can tell you your phone number in advance so you can give that to your parents before you leave.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

reply to this thread