** Anything marked with an asterisk is accompanied by a disclaimer that I have no Japanese knowledge and therefore cannot read any of the websites. I am making guesses based on a variety of different translation means.
I am paying 900 yen (less than 9 USD) per month for 6 GB of high speed data. Wow. So cheap.
Being the millennial that I am, I spent by far, the most amount of time researching phone plans (see sources for link to where I found the service I chose). I am quite cheap when it comes to things that aren’t exciting, but still essential. I don’t know if I found the best plan in general, but with the deal that they are offering, it definitely is the best for me! If you’d rather skip the hassle, other friends went to the BIC Camera Store and had it done in person, super quick and easy. If you like the struggle, read on.
Let’s get down to it. It was a arduous process, but only because my Japanese is nonexistant. I tested into the 0th level, which doesn’t exist in my program, they created it for the 6 of us from the UCEAP program who couldn’t even test into the lowest level they offer.
I got the BIC SIM (partnered with IIJIMIO). The plan is under a current promotion where the data is doubled for 6 months (*once you start it between 2017/2/16 ～2017/5/7). Perfect for me who is only here for 5 months.
Things to note:
- All official instructions are in Japanese
- You need a credit card in your name, it can definitely be international
- If you want voice enabled, the minimum is 6 months
- Your sim will be delivered, you must be present to accept the package
- You will need wifi to set up your sim once you get it
- You can pick to use Docomo or AU service, check what your phone supports
- Service for me did not start until the 1st of the month, though they gave me some data coupons to use for the few days I had before that kicked in.
- I registered super late in March and service started in April. I don’t know what would happen if you register April 2 or 3.
Step One: Website
Here is the link: https://www.iijmio.jp/bicsim/weborder/. Click it! You have to go through this link for the promo. Despite IIJ having different partnerships with different SIM companies, only BIC has the promotion. And so you need to register for IIJIMIO through BIC SIM.
Look at all the info. Have fun! I believe there are two promotions happening right now:
- Data doubled for 6 months
- 1 yen activation fee
Step Two: Begin Registration
Click the red button that looks like the one below to begin registration with IIJIMIO:
Step Three: Registration Basics
The page one is just agreement stuff. I didn’t read it because I can’t. Maybe you should?
Page two is where you would enter your invite code. It gives both people a 10% bonus data for 2 months (I think).
Please use my invite code if you are following these instructions between Apr 2017 to Aug 2017. I would really appreciate it:
Invite Code: 150 7589 1275 3067
Step Four: Pick your service
Page three asks if you want a phone and sim or just a sim. I picked just a sim because I checked my phone and it supported the bands (frequencies) of Japanese service. You need to double check if your phone supports the bands in Japan (frequencies can be found on this site).
Page four is where you determine the details of your phone plan.
You can pick between Docomo 3G/LTE or AU 4G/LTE service. I heard that Docomo service is better so I picked that (plus my phone supported more Docomo bands).
You can also pick whether or not you want your sim to be text or voice enabled, adding options increases your sim card fee. I chose to just do data only because at the time, I had not yet received my residence card, and you have to email it to them somehow for voice service? Also with voice, there is a minimum of 6 months and I only needed 5 months of service. Once you pick a sim, you are stuck with whatever services you chose, so choose carefully. A data sim cannot retroactively enable talk.
Choose the appropriate sim size and plan. Note that for text/voice SIMS calls and messages are charged per text/per minute of outgoing call, not monthly. (See this link for more information on how sims work.)
You’ll next choose your delivery date and time. I pick any day, any time and received the sim the next day or the day after, I forget. Anyway, YOU HAVE TO BE HOME TO RECEIVE THE PACKAGE!!!!
Finally, don’t select any of the extra services, you don’t need them, probably.
Step Five: Delivery and Account Information
Just enter in your information. You will error if you don’t use Katakana/Kanji for the top Name fields.
In the gender section, the left option is “Male”, right is “Female”. Sadly it’s binary. Pick which ever one that you identify as, but note that the delivery man will be using this information to deliver to you.
For the address, you can enter in your postal code, then press the blue button and it autofills some information.
For phone number, you put what ever delivery number you have, whether it be a number of a roommate, the program’s office number, or a random Japanese friend you know.
You’ll then pick a password, the username will be sent to your email.
For payment information, you have to use a card with the same name as the application (a.k.a. your name).
To register with your email, you will enter it into the mail address field and then press the blue button. Check your email for a verification code. Enter it into the next field.
Step Six: Finishing Online Registration
Haha I suck. That’s as far as I can take you since I already registered my account and I’m not trying to register again. Just confirm everything and you’ll receive your sim in the mail.
Step Seven: Receive and Open Your Package
All fun and games until you see it all in Japanese yet again. I will edit this post with pictures and detailed instructions in a bit. But here is what you can expect:
- Your sim card
- instructions to set up your APN settings
- some promotion fliers
- a flyer to set up your free wifi hotspot access (wi2 300)
Pop that sim into your phone!!!
Step Eight: Download the mioPON app and Set Up APN
If you have an iPhone, the APN settings can be downloaded as a package via the mioPON app. Login with your mioID (emailed to you) and password you set in step five. On the bottom bar, hit the ? button (third button). You can download APN settings via the second to last button. Note that the last button says “SIM” in there but don’t be fooled, that’s for visitor sims. You, my love, have a Japanese sim. Holla.
If you have an Android, you can check your mioPON app, but you can also see the instructions that are in the little folder that the sim card came in.
The mioPON app is pretty crucial. It’ll tell you how much data you have left. On the main page, there is a top row that says how much data you have left in this billing period. *In the second row controls data coupons. I honestly don’t know how it works. I figured out my service was starting when 6000MB showed up on the top row. Before then, I had maybe 300MB of fast data coupon and then 2G level speeds. But I didn’t understand that my service would only start on the first of April, so I used it all in one day and suffered for a few days.
Step Nine: IMPORTANT! HOW TO CANCEL YOUR SERVICE
You must cancel your service online when you leave, or prepare to pay forever. Don’t say I didn’t warn you. I have not actually gone through with this, but feel free to try. I think this works.
- Go to https://www.iijmio.jp/
- Login by clicking the pink button in the header (at the top)
- Go to https://www.iijmio.jp/customer/cancel/ (Found link via members page > contract info > scroll down to see section on payment)
- Cancel!! ❤ yay
- Set up your free wi2-300 hotspot access. You’ll need internet access. And you’ll have to add the MAC addresses of any devices you want to use in the account page once you login.
I found these sites to be the most useful in helping me find this great deal!!! Everyone else in my program is paying 3-5x more than I am (they are listed in order of what I found most useful).
where I found the BIC SIM (monthly plan):
where I was looking for prepaid sims and cell frequency information: