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charlosian (Offline)
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Default phone help - 28-03-2007, 22:58

hi, im new here and i have a serious question.
i live in usa and this summer i will travel to hiroshima to study abroad for a while.
i need a cell phone that can be used internationally, that i can own, not rent
i want to use it in japan and in the usa when i return so i can continue to make calls to japan on it. i have looked into gsm phones, but i noticed japan uses 3G
i have a phone in mind that i want to see if it will work as like a prepaid phone
http://www.popularelect.com/product...products_id=356
now i need to know how to set this phone up, i hear a sim card wont work for japan, but i want it set up japan use mostly, so if anyone knows good services
to make it prepaid and still work when i get back to us can i get links and more info. im really new to the international phone thing i have read the other pages about 09 and celtrek but those still seem like a lot. but i wonder if there is anything cheaper or any other new methods.
thanks
   
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Effendi (Offline)
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Default 29-03-2007, 08:57

I think it's easier if you get a contract there in Japan, including a PDC or 3G phone, and use it once you are there in Hiroshima. Of course that's not a good solution if you plan to stay there 1/2 weeks, but if you stay longer it's surely better. AFAIK no Japanese operators sell prepaid sim-cards only on 3G, they just have some PDC prepaid kits (phone+prepaid card).
Using United Mobile or 09 for longer period should not be a great idea...


Working Prepaids: IT: Wind, Vodafone IT, UNO Mobile; SM: Prima; UK: 3, Virgin; INT: TravelSIM, Truphone.
Deceased Prepaids: CZ: Oskar, Eurotel; SK: Orange; DE: E-Plus, Aldi, Simyo; GE: Geocell; AM: Armentel; PL: Heyah, Plus; LT: Tele2; LV: Amigo; EE: Elisa; UA: Kyivstar; NZ: Vodafone; INT: UM, UM+, ICQSim.
GSM/3G Phones: Nokia Lumia 630 dual sim
   
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Yazcedric (Offline)
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Default Cellphone in Japan - 29-03-2007, 14:36

Hi, charlosian.
I always make sighs when I think about the Japanese "closed" cellular market/service.

The availability for Japanese POSTPAID contract depends on your duration of stay in Japan (ie, whether you will enter Japan as a "registered" foreigner).
If you enter Japan for the duration as a traveler (I forgot the maximal duration without obtaining visa), then I would consider Celtrek (you will find detailed report in other thread).
The calling rate is very attractive (compared to Japanese prepaid cellphone).
Also, it looks like Celtrek will provide you a US DID number so that your family members can call you as if they call you as US long distance calls.
The drawback is that people in Japan reach you by making international calls.
Similar issues are also applied when you obtain Japanese cellphone (with Japanese DID number).
So, it all depends how you use (will you call out most of the time, or will you receive calls).

As for postpaid contract, the roaming rate (ie, once you are out of Japan) is terrible, and I don't know how you maintain the account.
For Japanese prepaid cellphones, currently available one (Softbank) is not compatible outside Japan (PDC).

In summary,
1) Celtrek SIM and obtain a compatible unlocked cellphone if you would like to have a cellphone that you will use in the US (or other countries outside Japan).
2) Renting a cellphone may be easiest if you will stay in Japan for a short duration. Also, prepaid cellphone service is not easy (or almost not available) to obtain as a traveler.
3) No Japanese prepaid SIM card package (with Japanese DID number) is currently available.
Softbank offers "renting" SIM card if you bring your own cell phone, but their rate is not so attractive and there is compatibility issue, too.
4) Postpaid contract can be considered depending on your duration of stay in Japan, but these phones are locked to the carriers.
And the roaming rate is terrible once you are outside Japan. I've also heard that Japanese postpaid "SIM" card has some compatibility issues (ie not so "universal" if you try these cards to the phones that are not supported by the carriers).

Hope this will help you.


Yazcedric

Cellphones: Nokia E70 (unlocked), Nokia 6010 (unlocked), Nokia 6030 (T-mobile USA)
Prepaid SIM: T-mobile USA, Smartone-Vodafone HK, Yackiemobile, O2 UK
Expired SIM: Orange France (prepaid)
Unknown status: MeSim (most likely expired)
Prepaid phone: Softbank Sharp 201SH
VoIP: Voxalot, voipcheap, Tpad.com, Freedigits.com, Globe7, Gizmo project, voicestick
Mobile VoIP: Truphone, Fring
   
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dg7feq (Offline)
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Default 29-03-2007, 14:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazcedric View Post
1) Celtrek SIM and obtain a compatible unlocked cellphone if you would like to have a cellphone that you will use in the US (or other countries outside Japan).
.
Dont forget -- it has to be a 3G UMTS phone (2100MHz) in order to work in Japan....

Chris


Germany: o2 blue all-in L, simquadrat
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charlosian (Offline)
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Default 29-03-2007, 16:08

thanks for the replies. i will be in japan for 6 weeks.
   
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Yazcedric (Offline)
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Default registration if you'd like to make a POSTPAID contract - 29-03-2007, 17:50

Hi, charlosian

As I mentioned in the earlier post, if you'd like to make POSTPAID contract, you need to have yourself "registered" in Japanese government database.
It may worth doing this since duration of your stay is intermediate length.
Per Japanese government web page, foreigners who stay within 90 days are "not required" to register. This is different from visa issue.
The registration takes place at the closest government office where you will stay in Japan.
They have application form that you need to fill out and you also need to submit your passport and photos.
Then, they will issue an ID (with your picture).
Per Docomo's web page, I found that you need to provide this ID and credit card to make a new postpaid contract.
In their website, they mention that customer with shorter (less than 90 days) validity of alien registration status can only apply contract paid by credit card.
I am not sure whether there is any penalty applied when you "terminate" this contract at 6wks.
Per Softbank's web page, it looks like the validity of alien registration status has to be longer than 90 days, or they will not even accept the application (even if you apply for prepaid cellphone).

So, in summary,
A) rental phone (~$2 to $5/day + outgoing call usage) or rental SIM card (~$1/day + outgoing call usage) - unlocked cellphone needs to have W-CDMA in case of renting SIM card. These are probably ideal if you would like to have Japanese DID number and majority of calls are domestic.
OR
B) Celtrek SIM - with a nice, compatible phone (ie, costs some upfront money, but may worth it if you will make international travels).
I would ask DRNewcomb for further suggestions (particularly compatible cellphone) since he recently used Celtrek in Japan.
In this case, DID number will be US number - easy to be called from your family in the US, but not so convenient to be reached by local folks (due to the international number).

Unfortunately, I have not tried either of them by myself since I have Japanese driver's license and currently have a Softbank prepaid cellphone (useless here in US, though).
But I may consider Celtrek for my next trip since my main cell phone is Nokia E70.
I believe it works since I could roam using Hong Kong Smartone-vodafone prepaid SIM card with E70 in Japan last December. My E70 picked signals from either NTT Docomo or Softbank depending on the location.

Hope this will help you.


Yazcedric

Cellphones: Nokia E70 (unlocked), Nokia 6010 (unlocked), Nokia 6030 (T-mobile USA)
Prepaid SIM: T-mobile USA, Smartone-Vodafone HK, Yackiemobile, O2 UK
Expired SIM: Orange France (prepaid)
Unknown status: MeSim (most likely expired)
Prepaid phone: Softbank Sharp 201SH
VoIP: Voxalot, voipcheap, Tpad.com, Freedigits.com, Globe7, Gizmo project, voicestick
Mobile VoIP: Truphone, Fring
   
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charlosian (Offline)
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Default 29-03-2007, 19:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by Yazcedric View Post
Hi, charlosian

As I mentioned in the earlier post, if you'd like to make POSTPAID contract, you need to have yourself "registered" in Japanese government database.
It may worth doing this since duration of your stay is intermediate length.
Per Japanese government web page, foreigners who stay within 90 days are "not required" to register. This is different from visa issue.
The registration takes place at the closest government office where you will stay in Japan.
They have application form that you need to fill out and you also need to submit your passport and photos.
Then, they will issue an ID (with your picture).
Per Docomo's web page, I found that you need to provide this ID and credit card to make a new postpaid contract.
In their website, they mention that customer with shorter (less than 90 days) validity of alien registration status can only apply contract paid by credit card.
I am not sure whether there is any penalty applied when you "terminate" this contract at 6wks.
Per Softbank's web page, it looks like the validity of alien registration status has to be longer than 90 days, or they will not even accept the application (even if you apply for prepaid cellphone).

So, in summary,
A) rental phone (~$2 to $5/day + outgoing call usage) or rental SIM card (~$1/day + outgoing call usage) - unlocked cellphone needs to have W-CDMA in case of renting SIM card. These are probably ideal if you would like to have Japanese DID number and majority of calls are domestic.
OR
B) Celtrek SIM - with a nice, compatible phone (ie, costs some upfront money, but may worth it if you will make international travels).
I would ask DRNewcomb for further suggestions (particularly compatible cellphone) since he recently used Celtrek in Japan.
In this case, DID number will be US number - easy to be called from your family in the US, but not so convenient to be reached by local folks (due to the international number).

Unfortunately, I have not tried either of them by myself since I have Japanese driver's license and currently have a Softbank prepaid cellphone (useless here in US, though).
But I may consider Celtrek for my next trip since my main cell phone is Nokia E70.
I believe it works since I could roam using Hong Kong Smartone-vodafone prepaid SIM card with E70 in Japan last December. My E70 picked signals from either NTT Docomo or Softbank depending on the location.

Hope this will help you.
thanks a lot, very good info. you think a hk prepaid phone would work?
hmm, any places where i can find those online.
i really like the still of japanese and korea cell phones.
   
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andy (Offline)
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Default 29-03-2007, 23:10

apart from the roaming SIMs ...

some Vodafone networks have Japan on the list of countries for Passport, so calls to Japan or the SIM's home country will be at normal tariff (off-peak can be quite good) plus a connect fee per call

edit - mind you, given Vodafone UK's present fucking ridiculous practice of cancelling SIMs that haven't been used for 3 weeks since being reinstated after a previous mistaken disconnection, it's likely to be a stupid idea

Last edited by andy; 30-03-2007 at 01:32..
   
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charlosian (Offline)
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Default 30-03-2007, 01:49

i see, so a UK vodaphone might work?
i live in us and cant get my hands on a vodaphone though
   
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charlosian (Offline)
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Default 03-04-2007, 03:16

ok, i did get a vodaphone, and i should have it within a week.
now i just need to find a international sim that i can add credit to the account online. because i wont really have an address to send the cards to once im there. so i will get a sim before i go, and add credit from my computer if i need more time. any suggestions?
   
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