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.

Three - 3G mobile phone in Japan 2017/1/18 18:32
I'm from the UK and will travel to Osaka next month. I have been looking for a phone to use over there - pre-paid / pay as you go.
Don't need anything fancy, just making and receiving calls and texts.

I have found a suitable one from Three that can be used with a 3G card.
However, there are a few things nobody really seems to know.

Some say that with a card as above it can only be used for data transfer - which means texts? - and not for calls, is this correct?

Then it says that I need to activate "roaming" on the phone, but only refers to monthly contracts - does this apply to pre-paid phones, too?

It's also not quite clear if the call rates are the same for contract and pre-paid phones. Their website is somewhat confusing in this matter.

I tried the Three customer service number, but after hanging on the line for 20 minutes, I gave up.

Can anyone help with the above?

Many thanks!

by TM (guest)  

Re: Three - 3G mobile phone in Japan 2017/1/19 23:00
I think you're getting two things mixed up.
You can have a UK SIM card in the phone and use it as normal, except you'd be paying a lot for everything (with Three; £2 a minute to make calls, £1.25 a minute to receive calls, 35p for every text. Any data is £3 per megabyte. You'll need roaming activated on the phone to do this).
Or you can buy a pre-paid Japanese SIM card and put it in any phone (as long as it's unlocked). This will only let you use data - so no calls or texts, they're not allowed to provide that service to visitors - but you can use data services like WhatsApp or Facebook to send messages etc with it.
Or you can hire a portable wifi router whilst you're there. You can use your UK SIM card for calls and texts (at the expensive rate!) and carry around a little box with a Japanese SIM card in it which you connect to via wifi and use that for your data.

Econnectjapan.com is one company providing both the wifi router and the SIM cards, but there are loads of them.
by Tim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Three - 3G mobile phone in Japan 2017/1/19 23:03
Personally - also going to Osaka next month - I'll be getting a Japanese SIM card and sticking it in the iPhone I already own for the duration of my trip. No phone or text will be available (unless I put my UK sim back in) and telling people they'll have to email, WhatsApp or contact me through Facebook until I get home!
by Tim (guest) rate this post as useful

Re: Three - 3G mobile phone in Japan 2017/1/19 23:15
Thanks, looks like I mixed some things up indeed. I'm not a mobile phone expert...
And this will be my first one for ages.

I really only need it to make a few calls and / or send and receive texts.

I don't use facebook and never used whatsApp so far.

I have asked around at some shops and looked at various websites, but Three were the only unlocked ones I could find.
Are there any other options, maybe with lower rates for calls and texts?


by TM (guest) rate this post as useful

reply to this thread