Home
Back

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.

Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/4 01:10
I've tried googling, asking friends etc., but nobody could give me a clear answer (or poor tips only, like "buy a phone in Japan" when I explicitly write I don't want a JP phone). Perhaps you would know? :)

If I buy a new Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro (or basically any other new phone in the EU with a microSIM/nanoSIM slots), can I get a long-term contract SIM in Japan from the major carrier trio (and preferably softbank)? I'm currently using a softbank stupidphone (2-year contract) as they couldn't give me a SIM for my iPhone 4 (unlocked, of course) back in October 2015. And I can't try the SIM card in the iPhone as the size of the chip is different.

- I don't really need any data, just calls+SMS are OK: I pay about 1000~1500 JPY/month now with softbank. If there are any alternatives for less than 2000 JPY/month, then I wouldn't mind switching a carrier, otherwise I'd like to keep what I have (+ keep the number) and just switch phones

- I don't want to buy any phones here in Japan - they are overly expensive compared to what you can get in the Czech Republic for the same price

- no point asking the carriers directly, as I've found out they just don't know anything (information provided changes wildly depending on a person I'm talking to, and is often wrong anyway)

So, is Japan still in the middle ages, or are things better now and I can safely buy my phone in the EU? Does anybody know?
Thank you!
by denlee (guest)  

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/4 15:15
- no point asking the carriers directly, as I've found out they just don't know anything (information provided changes wildly depending on a person I'm talking to, and is often wrong anyway)

Methinks they told you it's not possible, but you're not willing to take no for an answer...
by Firas rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/4 17:12
Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro: it may work in Japan, while it is illegal to use it in Japan, because it does not have a certificate to pass the 技適マーク.
before you complain the system, you have to know the rules of individual country.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/4 17:56
Firas: The thing is, they didn't told me "no", they are often simply incompetent, so no real point asking. When I was trying to get a first contract, I've visited docomo 3 times asking the absolutely same questions, got 3 different answers (and when I came to sign up for a contract, I was told the info from before is not right (it was written by an employee, I brought the paper with me), and that I'd actually pay 5000/month more). I visited softbank 4 times, 2 times different info, third time trying to sign a contract (and was told it's impossible with a 1-year visa, while it seemed OK the last time), 4th time at the same store with a different clerk signed the very same contract on the very same visa. So no, it's clearly not about me.

Ken: I'm not complaining about the system. :) I know for sure the phone itself would work...but can I get a SIM card from the 3 companies (as MVNOs are expensive for calls)? The phones are basically the same anyway, so it's a bureaucratic problem, not a technological one.
Or I can put it differently: If I just switch phones using an existing microSIM, would it still work?

Is there really no one among thousands of people who've tried this? :(
by denlee (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/4 18:02
(Or well, I may be complaining about the system, as it's like Europe in the beginning of the cellphone age...too restrictive without a good reason. But that has no relevance to the question).
by denlee (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/4 22:42
Japan is not EU.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/5 00:09
A Xiaomi Redmi 3 Pro (or similar phone) should work with your existing sim provided the phone is unlocked. Data could be a problem (as in you may not qualify for unlimited data plans), but I suppose that's not an issue since you're only interested in calling.

It's a different situation if you are looking for a new sim/contract though as last I checked docomo was the only carrier to officially support non-contract phones and the plans were relatively expensive and so uncommon that the store staff were not well versed in setting it up (this could have changed in the meantime however as the industry changes fast). But generally speaking, the cell phone environment in Japan tends to favor contract plans with the major carriers via good phone subsidies and better service plans. That's also why you are having trouble with the store staff. They are really only well versed in their own devices, and customers in your situation are uncommon. You can keep trying though, you may just have to find the right staff/shop to do it for you.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/5 20:09
Ken: Why, I haven't noticed. Duh.

yllwsmrf: Oh, thank you for finally replying to the original question without unnecessary (stupid) comments. I love you!
Well, I guess in the meantime I'll just try cutting my large current SIM card (which I got with softbank's free stupidphone, and which I'm using now) into a microSIM format, stick it into an unblocked iPhone, and see what happens. If it works, then I guess I'll just buy the non-JP phone and be happy. And do the same later with my wife's phone (get a contract + SIM with a free stupidphone, cut the SIM, enjoy it in a different phone). I hope it works...otherwise they'll surely charge ridiculous fees for a new SIM card. :)
by denlee (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/6 06:37
Just my 5 cents.
I have no experiences with getting a SIM in Japan for a long term contract. Just rented a throwaway SIM for one month. Using this in a EU smartphone (Samsung) was no problem.
The size of the SIM is no problem as you can change the size from big to small) by cutting/trimming the SIM. You can do this using regular scissors. Better is using a special tool for this. In Europe they can/will do this also in a phone shop. For small to big size SIMs you can buy adapters. Sometimes you can get them in a phone shop.
Keep also in mind that the EU smartphone need to be not SIMlocked.
Most modern smartphones are compatible with most frequencies and protocols. But to make sure you can use the most advanced features you better check this. There are several internet sites that list the frequencies etc used in Japan by the different providers. Compare these with the one your EU smartphone has.
See: http://www.worldtimezone.com/gsm.html

B. Slager
by Butch (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/6 08:12
old phone (ケイタイ) and new smartphone (スマホ) have different options for unlimited data.
I hope you are not "stupid".
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/6 18:04
Butch: Thank you! I will look into this. And yesterday I already ordered a small cutter for a few Yen on Amazon (I've already cut a SIM before using scissors, and it worked...but don't want to mess up the Japanese SIM, it'd be a pain in the buttocks).

Ken: Sorry for being rude yesterday, I was pissed about quite a lot of things that day... Anyway, yes, I know, thanks. I don't really need data though, and call plans seem to be the same for any phone (I'm using the very cheapest and limited option with Softbank right now, only calls + SMS for 1080/month). It seems like I don't even need a new smartphone then, but I use quite a lot of other smartphone functions and wifi a lot. That's why I'm trying to find out.
I'll write the results after cutting the current SIM card. I guess it should work though... If yes, I'll repeat the process with my wife's phone later (getting a free ガラ軽 + SIM with a new plan).
by denlee (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/6 21:04
be careful.
smartphone often communicates to the servers without notifying us. if you use ガラ携 sim for smartphone, you will receive very expensive bill.
パケ放題 of ガラ携 may not be applied to smartphone.
by ken (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/7 08:40
So you have valid documentation to get a voice sim like a resident card to go with your visa - the Misuse of Telecommunications rules are a bit of a PITA. But if data calls work fine, why do you need voice contract - it might be better quality in some cases.

by JapanCustomTours rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/7 22:10
Ken: Well, I believe a smartphone does not send any Internet data if they've been specifically switched off (like Cellular Data - off on iPhones, or a similar setting on Android)...does it? At least I've never had any problems with these settings back in Europe (when I also don't have any data plan so all data transfers are pretty expensive, and phones would indeed connect automatically, thus costing me money, if data transfers are not restricted to wifi only).
It's true though that my garakei asks me when it tries to connect to the Internet, it won't do it automatically like a smartphone would.

JapanCustomTours: I didn't quite catch what do you want to suggest: To rather use data plans for calls instead of a call/voice plan?

Thanks.
by denlee (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/8 07:00
smartphone often communicates to the servers without notifying us. if you use ガラ携 sim for smartphone, you will receive very expensive bill.
パケ放題 of ガラ携 may not be applied to smartphone.


Smartphones do use data for background tasks, but it's a non-issue if you turn off cellular data. That will restrict background tasks to wifi only.

Ken is correct that the two types of data plans are charged differently. Regular phone sims might technically work for a smartphone but you risk getting charged for your usage in full. So be sure that you have cellular data turned off if you go this route.

But if data calls work fine, why do you need voice contract - it might be better quality in some cases.

A data-only plan may be more convenient if you do want to use both data and voice as internet phone services might be able to fill your voice needs, depending on who you need to call and who needs to call you.

However, call quality is rarely better over a data line and service can be spotty and inconsistent compared to a voice line. It works well enough for users who call infrequently, but it may not be that great if you are a moderate-heavy phone user.

Price-wise, a voice only sim might be less expensive if you can live with getting your internet over wifi.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/8 15:33
Thank you!
Yes, I can live without mobile data even in this age, but I need to be able to call my wife (in Japan) for cheap. Now I have free calls between Softbank numbers, which is good enough for me...though other networks cost horrendous 48 JPY/minute.

I'll let you know when I cut the SIM to a smaller size and try it in my old iPhone.
by denlee (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/9 16:24
Are you only calling your wife and is it to her cellphone? Cause in that case a data plan might be a more convenient option.
by yllwsmrf rate this post as useful

Re: Contract SIM from SB/au/DCM for an EU phone? 2016/7/9 19:22
Not only, but mostly, I guess.
But otherwise, sometimes friends, sometimes takkyuubin, sometimes someone else. But not very often. Overall, I pay about 1500/month right now.
by denlee (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread