Using your iPhone in Japan – Android Smart phones in Japan

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Reviewer: Foodnut.com

apple iphone 3gs smartphone
The iPhone is an essential tool when traveling to Japan for Americans. Google maps, travel guides, language translation, and many other apps are extremely useful. Using our United States, USA AT&T iPhone in Japan is tricky. Verizon iPhones from the USA do not work internationally. Here are some tips on using your iPhone in Japan. We also have an article on using iPhones in Hong Kongusing iPhones in Chinausing iPhones in Franceusing iPhones in the UK

Be sure to read our restaurant reviews for Japan:

You can only use foreign SIM cards in an unlocked iPhone. Jailbreaking and unlocking iPhones are not easy tasks. (We use redsn0w.com and ultrasn0w.com) Be sure to change your default SSH password.

One slip and you may have bricked your expensive smartphone. We recommend buying a pre-jailbroken/unlocked used iPhone from eBay or Craigslist. iPhone 3G’s typically cost around $150. Make sure you carry a paper clip with you.

This article also applies to the iPhone 4 and iPad 3G, but you need to cut the SIM into a microSIM.

The only iPhone cellphone carrier in Japan is SoftBank. Japan is also very security conscious, so they do not allow vendors to simply sell a SIM card. You need to possess a passport to rent a SIM .card. We learned from our trip that SoftBank is not the most economical for American travelers with iPhones, Android smart phones or other smartphones.

SoftBank’s network supports 3G handset that are W-CDMA2100/UMTS compatible only.

We rented our iPhone SIM card from a local SoftBank’s online page. You then pick it up at the airport and return it to the airport. ¥105 per day is charged for renting the SIM Card and 0.32 Yen/packet (128 bytes) of data, which adds up quickly, but is capped at 1,500 ¥ per day. An administration fee of 315 ¥ per rental contract applies.

Mobile phone connections to a computer via USB cable or mobile data transmission using a tethering or a connector card are ineligible for the data cap plan and subject to the charge of 0.32 Yen per packet (128 bytes) based on the data volume.

Local calls cost ¥105 / min., while incoming calls are free.  Sending a text message cost ¥15 / message, while receiving the messages free. International text messages cost ¥150 / message.

SoftB.ank also rents a Pocket Wi-Fi router that allows up to 5 devices to connect to the Internet.  It’s cost is ¥1,575 per day with unlimited data.

Have the store activate the phone and load the card.

If you need to, you can try these  iPhone Data settings: (Settings – General – Network – Cellular Data Network)

  • APN: smile.world
  • Username: dna1trop
  • Password: so2t3k3m2a

Turn your iPhone off and on again to get the new settings to load.

These instructions should work for other smartphones including Android based smartphones that support W-CDMA2100/UMTS networks from AT&T and T-Mobile.

Posted on April 10th, 2011
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7 Responses to “Using your iPhone in Japan – Android Smart phones in Japan”

  1. Tri Says:

    Would it work for me to buy a Softbank-locked iPhone off eBay and then just take it to a Softbank storefront and have them use that for my account?

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