Poll

Which cellphone company do you use?

AU
15 (68.2%)
Softbank
6 (27.3%)
DoCoMo
1 (4.5%)

Total Members Voted: 22

Author Topic: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?  (Read 6100 times)

fred

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Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« on: June 29, 2013, 12:33:46 AM »
Just interested to see what people are using for their cellphone provider and why.

I use AU and have done since I got here. I went with AU as they were the easiest to get a phone with as I didn't have to wait for my gaijin card to come through and could get it with just the piece of paper. Been pretty happy with the service too.

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2013, 03:53:20 AM »
I was on AU when I first got to Japan and then after 2 years switched to Softbank to get an Iphone.

AU had far superior reception throughout the ken and Japan in general but softbank was the only available option for Iphones (at the time at least, not sure if this has changed).

In terms of pricing, I saw no major differences and I never had any contact with customer services except for setting up and cancelling both phones so I can't really comment on that.
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fred

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #2 on: June 29, 2013, 09:08:59 AM »
The iphone is now available on AU too. Not sure if softbank's reception has improved though.

andypj1

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #3 on: June 29, 2013, 11:46:18 AM »
Hey fred,

Can you bump the old thread that gives info about how to manage your AU account online.  I have been wanting to closer manage mine and my wife's cell phone bills.

shneen

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #4 on: June 29, 2013, 10:06:02 PM »
I've been with au ever since I came to Japan and have been through a number of different phones/service plans/etc. with them. I currently have an iPhone 4s and a retina iPad through them and have been really happy with both.  The local au shop has always been super easy to deal with when I needed to change phones or had a question about my service.

fred

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2013, 06:10:04 PM »
Anyone else care to chime in? Only seven people have voted so far.

Jotham

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2013, 10:58:23 PM »
The rest of family was with AU so it would be cheaper calling them if we were on AU so....

Wouldn't it be nice, to get on with my neighbours!

fred

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #7 on: July 03, 2013, 12:05:31 AM »
For those of you on Softbank, how easy was it to sign up with them. How soon were you able to sign up with them after you got here?

catglen

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #8 on: July 04, 2013, 05:17:30 AM »
Any one know if you can take a used Japanese Iphone and use it with AU or Softbank and just get a cheaper monthly rate?

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #9 on: July 04, 2013, 09:31:28 AM »
For those of you on Softbank, how easy was it to sign up with them. How soon were you able to sign up with them after you got here?

Softbank was pretty straightforward as far as signing up for a phone goes. I'm pretty sure I just needed my gaijin card at the time, although it seems like ages ago so I don't fully remember. I think I got my phone within a day or two of arriving in Yamanashi.

kelloggs

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #10 on: July 04, 2013, 09:43:58 AM »
I was going to get Softbank when I first arrived (for no particular reason other than that I heard it would be a little cheaper), but, like Fred, I couldn't get a phone without my 在留カード, and, since I wasn't willing to wait the week or so that it took for the card to get to me, I signed on with au. I have an iPhone and have been happy with their service (except for the debacle with the pocket WiFi, but that's neither here or now).
« Last Edit: July 04, 2013, 09:47:16 AM by kelloggs »
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fred

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #11 on: July 04, 2013, 11:27:54 AM »
Marc - How is the phone coverage these days. I know that a few years ago, it was appalling and that is one of the reasons why Mig changed back to AU. Is it better now?

shneen

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #12 on: July 04, 2013, 11:51:43 AM »
Another thing to keep in mind with softbank is that sometimes they require foreigners to pay for the cost of their phone up front (especially if your visa is shorter than your contract).

Marc!

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #13 on: July 04, 2013, 12:46:24 PM »
Marc - How is the phone coverage these days. I know that a few years ago, it was appalling and that is one of the reasons why Mig changed back to AU. Is it better now?

The phone itself is decent. I can get service pretty much anywhere, but the service of Docomo, for example, would be much stronger in the same place. I don't have many complaints about the phone's service, but the service of my pocket wi-fi router through Softbank, on the other hand, is atrocious. I would NEVER recommend anyone to get a pocket wi-fi device through Softbank.

andypj1

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #14 on: July 04, 2013, 12:57:21 PM »
Marc - How is the phone coverage these days. I know that a few years ago, it was appalling and that is one of the reasons why Mig changed back to AU. Is it better now?

The phone itself is decent. I can get service pretty much anywhere, but the service of Docomo, for example, would be much stronger in the same place. I don't have many complaints about the phone's service, but the service of my pocket wi-fi router through Softbank, on the other hand, is atrocious. I would NEVER recommend anyone to get a pocket wi-fi device through Softbank.

Same goes for wi-fi/wimax AU.  We had to pay 9000 to cancel ours because it was sooooo slow.

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #15 on: July 05, 2013, 10:17:53 AM »
the service of my pocket wi-fi router through Softbank, on the other hand, is atrocious. I would NEVER recommend anyone to get a pocket wi-fi device through Softbank.

Agree on this.  The owner of the apartment I'm subletting for July/August uses the Softbank pocket wifi for her internet.  I've lost count the number of times I've had to either restart the damn thing or reconfigure the wifi settings on my computer.  You're better off paying the extra yen for separate internet service. 

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #16 on: July 05, 2013, 11:12:36 AM »
I actually just switched to docomo after being with softbank. got the new xperia and I really like it. Docomo is a little weird with using their phones overseas with other sims...but the cap for data use is set at 3,000 yen a day(which is still high i know). Since I didn't unlock my phone before I went over seas I couldn't put a SIM in.

They have a deal going on where if you have an iPhone from AU or Softbank they will give you 2 mon just to switch over. Although that money went to some closing account fees it was still nice. So far docomo rocks but like all contracts there's a lot of hidden fees they tack on that you should have to cancel a few months after the contract.

I intially was trying to get a new iphone from softbank but they do check your visa if you're going to pay by payments and they only do 2 year contracts for the payments...mine visa just happened to be 1 year, 10 months left at the time and they wouldn't even allow me to pay those two extra months ahead of time.

Docomo does 1 year or 2 year contracts on payments for cell phones.
I LOVE my xperia....awesome shutter camera, waterproof, and it claims to be able to take underwater videos but I'm still too nervous to do it lol.  :-P :-P
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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #17 on: July 05, 2013, 02:13:43 PM »
Does Docomo offer a pocket wi-fi service and does anyone have any experience with that?
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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2013, 02:47:40 PM »
yes they do...but with the 4g android they also allow you to tether and use the phone as a wifi hotspot :mrgreen:
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MCAS

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #19 on: July 05, 2013, 03:14:34 PM »
AU does that too. It's a standard function of most smartphones these days.
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fred

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #20 on: July 05, 2013, 04:04:35 PM »
I've heard good things about the Xperia. It is contender for my next phone actually and the waterproofing sounds awesome.

Terra may not be able to tether from her phone. When I got my smart phone, not all of the phones offered it.

Has anyone used a pocket wi-fi and tethered too? Is the pocket wifi better than or the same as tethering?
« Last Edit: July 05, 2013, 04:14:59 PM by fred »

MCAS

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #21 on: July 05, 2013, 04:13:28 PM »
Never used pocket Wi-fi, but the tethering is pretty good. Streaming or downloading can be a bit slow, but it's more because it's still mobile 3g/4g.
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WadeB

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #22 on: July 05, 2013, 04:27:25 PM »

They have a deal going on where if you have an iPhone from AU or Softbank they will give you 2 mon just to switch over. Although that money went to some closing account fees it was still nice. So far docomo rocks but like all contracts there's a lot of hidden fees they tack on that you should have to cancel a few months after the contract.

I intially was trying to get a new iphone from softbank but they do check your visa if you're going to pay by payments and they only do 2 year contracts for the payments...mine visa just happened to be 1 year, 10 months left at the time and they wouldn't even allow me to pay those two extra months ahead of time.

Docomo does 1 year or 2 year contracts on payments for cell phones.

How long is that switchover deal going? My contract with softbank is up this September, and if they refuse to give a contract based on my visa then I will need other options  :-P

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #23 on: July 05, 2013, 04:35:47 PM »
I know next to nothing about tethering, but I know my phone is hella old and I'm pretty sure it's on 3G?

How would I find this out?
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fred

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #24 on: July 05, 2013, 05:34:22 PM »
On my phone atleast, there was an app in the menu called "Wi-fi tethering". Not sure if your phone has it or not.

karta

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #25 on: July 08, 2013, 01:02:00 PM »
I've heard good things about the Xperia. It is contender for my next phone actually and the waterproofing sounds awesome.

Terra may not be able to tether from her phone. When I got my smart phone, not all of the phones offered it.

Has anyone used a pocket wi-fi and tethered too? Is the pocket wifi better than or the same as tethering?

Be careful with tethering.  I use AU which does not have a separate charge for using tethering, though Softbank apparently does.  I don't think it's that much and apparently you can get apps which bypass it so that no one knows if you are tethering or not.  I was thinking to switch to Softbank or Docomo and the staff at Nojima was telling me that.  I can't remember the cost but I don't remember it being that much. I've never heard a real softbank user mention this though so it might be bunk.

I've used tethering with my AU smartphone and it works OK.  It's pretty slow but it will get the job done in a pinch. It's not good enough for streaming or downloading large files. 


Nick used the pocket wifi thing from Softbank and returned it within a month because it sucked so bad.


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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #26 on: July 08, 2013, 01:08:24 PM »

[/quote]

How long is that switchover deal going? My contract with softbank is up this September, and if they refuse to give a contract based on my visa then I will need other options  :-P
[/quote]

Shoot i don't know how much longer its going to go on for! They're pretty cool about it though and you can even keep your same number...
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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #27 on: July 08, 2013, 01:14:45 PM »
So in a nutshell tethering > pocket wifi? Seems cheaper for sure. I am not sure if the family I am moving in with actually has internet at home or not (gotta double check), but I don't think they do so I am looking at my options. Recently I don't really stream or download. Skype and online dictionaries/study things are what I am most concerned about.

I may have to look to upgrading to an AU smartphone that has a good tethering option.
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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #28 on: July 08, 2013, 01:15:43 PM »
AU.
Other Yamanashi foreigners told me Docomo had dodgy reception in Yamanashi and Softbank were just bad.
Which doesn't quite seem true.
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karta

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Re: Cellphone service - Which company do you use?
« Reply #29 on: July 08, 2013, 01:33:05 PM »

They have a deal going on where if you have an iPhone from AU or Softbank they will give you 2 mon just to switch over. Although that money went to some closing account fees it was still nice. So far docomo rocks but like all contracts there's a lot of hidden fees they tack on that you should have to cancel a few months after the contract.

I intially was trying to get a new iphone from softbank but they do check your visa if you're going to pay by payments and they only do 2 year contracts for the payments...mine visa just happened to be 1 year, 10 months left at the time and they wouldn't even allow me to pay those two extra months ahead of time.

Docomo does 1 year or 2 year contracts on payments for cell phones.

How long is that switchover deal going? My contract with softbank is up this September, and if they refuse to give a contract based on my visa then I will need other options  :-P

Whenever you head out to get your new phone, just ask.  Wag switched from AU to Docomo and Nojima gave him 4man worth of store credit.  You can buy a new TV with that. The deals seem to be happening all the time but are generally only if you switch from one company to another, not if you stay the same. 

I have recontracted with AU a few times and they have never asked for my visa info and I just gave them my driver's license for ID.  Nick switched from Softbank to Docomo and they only asked for his ID, too.  So, he gave his DL.
Maybe softbank is the only one really strict about that?
When I recontracted with AU this past time, I even TOLD them I was leaving Japan before the two years, still got a new phone and they just shrugged and told me about the cancellation fee and if there was any money left to pay on the phone, I would have to pay it.  They didn't deny me a new phone or new contract, though.
« Last Edit: July 08, 2013, 01:35:20 PM by karta »