How to choose a mobile plan in Japan? You just arrived in Japan or plan to move there soon? Among all the things to plan such as finding a place to stay, you will ask yourself this question.

The Japanese telecommunication landscape in Japan has greatly evolved in the last decade. Easier regulations created a bigger variety of options to choose from as a foreigner in Japan when it comes to mobile plan in Japan. Let’s have a quick overview of the network in Japan first.

1) The network for mobile plans in Japan

Japan’s telecommunication network has been mainly built by NTT that operates its own carrier called NTT Docomo. With a coverage of 99% of Japan, they have the biggest network and the best infrastructure. Among the top countries in the world, Japan is widely covered with optical fiber. Investments in a higher quality network have sadly pushed telecommunication and mobile plan prices up compared to some other countries such as France.

OECD Japan mobile plan network quality

Source: OECD

2) How much Data will I use?

Nowadays, the use of the internet represents the majority of our time on our phones. Thus, data related questions are among the most asked questions we get when people are considering taking a mobile plan with us.
Calculating how much data you will need and deciding which data plan to choose depends on two major factors in Japan:

a) How much wifi you have access to

Remember us talking about accommodation earlier? Well if you have wifi at home, you will reduce the amount of data you will need from your carrier. Remember to always connect to your wifi at home, it is a great data-saving trick!
We hope you will not spend all your time at home. Finding wifi outside of home is also important. For example, either at work or at school, knowing if you will have wifi there will be useful to determine how much data you will use and to decide  which mobile plan to subscribe to in Japan.

b) How do you use your phone on a daily basis

So you have a rough idea of how much time you will spend without wifi around. Now let’s see what you can do with our CityZEN Mobile plans:
5GB: A mobile plan in Japan with 5GB of data per month will allow you to check places on Google Maps, check your emails, talk with friends on Messenger, Line or WhatsApp without any issues. Perfect for light social media browsing.

7GB: Great for all basic data usage like finding directions and social media browsing. But, if you have long commutes and watch plenty of Youtube, Netflix and play online video games; consider a higher data plan!
This is one of our most subscribed mobile plans. 7GB suits for most, unless you have really high usage of video and games.

10GB: With this mobile plan, if you have wifi at home and at school/work, 10GB will allow you to do anything and everything. But avoid uploading youtube videos from your phone but, outside of that, you will be covered!

30GB: Our highest volume. Perfect if you do not have wifi easily accessible.

3) The choice of having a phone number or not

When asking yourself how to find a mobile plan in Japan, the phone number will have a big impact. We covered the topic in this article but we will still sum up the main points:

a) Great if you need to open a bank account, find a job or if you plan to communicate with companies or institutions.

b) Not really useful for exchange students or if you are already confident in using other messaging/calling apps such as Line, Messenger or Whatsapp.

Quick notice: Japanese mobile phone numbers are having the 070, 080, 090 prefixes.
All other prefixes are IP phones which are not accepted everywhere and have a bad image in Japan.

You are a traveler and need more information on Japan Sim Cards and Pocket Wifi? Check this article where we compare both options!