Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

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Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby bebox » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:41 am

Hi,
We're coming to Tokyo for a two week holiday in early November and as the roaming charges on my Australian telco are hideous I was going to see if I could grab a prepaid SIM in Japan and use that for two weeks so I can stay connected but not spend a fortune.

I've been to Japan a few times but this is the first tie with a mobile phone that needed 3G.

Thanks for any help.
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby ridgeracer1983 » Wed Oct 08, 2008 5:33 pm

i know Softbank sells prepaid phones if that helps... will you use the phone to call back to australia or are you going to be calling people in japan? if you are just going to call australia it might be cheaper to get a PSP and use the skype on it with the wifi to call back home for free ^_^
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby PaulDG » Wed Oct 08, 2008 6:05 pm

I borrowed a friends phone. It used the Softbank prepaid card system. It was very reasonable, about $.30 / minute to US. But I see the rental phones are about $3.00 per minute. I've heard you can buy a cheap cell phone there for less than $50, so that might be the cheapest way.

Programming the phone was a hoot. The receipt I got from the convenience store was all in Japanese, so I couldn't read all the kanji too well. So the clerk tried to program for me, but the phone menu system was English, so we were both kinda screwed. I finally fumbled my way through it though.
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby ridgeracer1983 » Thu Oct 09, 2008 7:43 am

NEVER GET A RENTAL PHONE that was my biggest mistake i made one time... they'll charge the crap out of you... stick with prepaid phones for sure ^_^
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby bebox » Thu Oct 09, 2008 10:31 pm

Thanks guys - I eventually found the answer on Google.

Softbank now offer pre-paid 3G SIM cards since Feb 2008 and it seems I can pick those up at any convenience store and whack that in to my iPhone.

I don't want to rent as I need the functions of the 3G for mail and GPS etc.

I'll be taking a lot of calls from Australia plus needed to make some out so the SoftBank option sounds perfect.

http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/en/prepaid/3G/

That's the page to save anyone searching like I had to :)

Thanks again for everyone's help....now off to find a way to push the yen back up against the Aussie dollar - that may be harder to do :)
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby YesJapan Dave » Thu Oct 09, 2008 11:39 pm

bebox wrote: ... it seems I can pick those up at any convenience store and whack that in to my iPhone.

I'm heading there in 2 days -- I'll look for it at the Famima.
Awesome if it works that simply.
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby bebox » Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:57 pm

Thanks Dave - how did you go with it?
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby bebox » Tue Nov 18, 2008 6:23 am

Just got back from two weeks in Tokyo and the answer is as follows.

I had an iPhone 3G on Optus in Australia and thought I could go and put in a Softbank 3G prepaid SIM and all woould be sweet...however I forgot about one important thing - it is locked to my provider. I was so used to my jailbroken 1st gen iPhone being unlocked that I forgot I was completely locked in with this one.

I could have pwned it and then got the 3G SIM but in the end I survived without having my phone for a few weeks and used Skype on my laptop back at the hotel each night.

So for anyone looking to do this....

It says on the SoftBank site that you can get these 3G prepaid SIM's at Lawson and 7/11 etc but I asked around and no-one had ever heard of them.

Secondly I asked at several huge SoftBank dedicated stores and no-one had ever heard of a prepaid SIM.

Finally I went to a large SoftBank store in Harajuku and found a really helpful guy who knew about the prepaid SIM and then informed me of the locking problem. He even went and got a SIM for me and tried it in my phone but we got nowhere.

So if you're going to Japan and want to use a local SIM to save on call costs and/or use 3G for email etc then you're out of luck if your phone is locked to a carrier back home - which of course makes complete sense.

So if you have a jailbroken phone you're away as long as you can find a SoftBank store that knows what they are talking about :)
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby Khyron » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:25 am

Hmmm... I'll be heading there for 3 weeks in late Dec 2008 -> early Jan 2009. I'll see how I go with finding a Softbank store where the staff have a clue. I plan to be meeting up with about 25 of my friends throughout Japan, so I plan to be using my phone extensively. When I was in Egypt for 3 weeks my roaming bills were horrendous. I am also from Australia, and also with Optus- I don't think that makes any difference but an interesting coincidence!

Out of curiosity bebox... you wouldn't be from Perth, right? If you are... I may have even bumped into you at a J-related event here I guess... 8)
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby JFZ Teacher (George) » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:43 am

I talked with Softbank about bringing in an iPhone from the states and just switch out the sim card for use in Japan.
They said it can be done for I think 3000 yen and the monthly fee. Sorry I don't have all the numbers.

The key point was that the phone MUST be jail broken for them to do this.
Also one thing to note is that not all Softbank stores are equal. The store in Shibuya had no idea about the ability to do this because they were just an authorized dealer and not an official Softbank store.

Keep that in mind.
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby Khyron » Tue Nov 18, 2008 7:46 am

OK, thanks George. My phone is not carrier-locked (it is not as cool as an iPhone... just a regular motorola 3G), so it seems that I just have to find a proper Softbank store. I start my travels in Kobe, so I guess I'll look there or if that fails, Osaka.
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby PaulDG » Sun Nov 30, 2008 8:01 pm

I have a Verizon Samsung i760. It would be great if I could use it in Japan, but I'm probably out of luck. Anyone know if this phone can be unlocked?
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby JWLeggroan » Tue Dec 02, 2008 2:34 am

I toured Japan back in March of this year and as long as you have an unlocked phone, you might want to see about getting a Sim Card before you depart for your trip.

gosim.com and telestial.com are companies offer sim cards that might suit your purposes. As others have mentioned, consider whether you are going to be calling back to your home country or calling around within the country as you visit/tour. I used e-mail to keep friends and family back home up to date on my experiences and whereabouts.

PaulDG.... You asked about the possibility of unlocking a Verizon Samsung i760. I know this may not be the exactly what you are looking for but in short..... yes. I have yet to hear of or see a phone that cannot be or has not been unlocked. If you google "how to unlock Verizon Samsum i760" you will get a host of links and hopefully one will lead you to the method.

I honestly never felt that I needed my phone the three weeks I was there (It was really quite liberating). There is something to be said for just traveling, talking, siteseeting, and experiencing everything without a tether keeping you readily accessible to those back home. I am sure there are lots of compelling reasons to carry one but for me, I'll do without on my next trip.
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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby misokatsu » Wed Dec 03, 2008 1:02 pm

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Re: Prepaid SIM for 3G iPhone?

Postby bebox » Fri Dec 19, 2008 7:55 am

Khyron wrote:Hmmm... I'll be heading there for 3 weeks in late Dec 2008 -> early Jan 2009. I'll see how I go with finding a Softbank store where the staff have a clue. I plan to be meeting up with about 25 of my friends throughout Japan, so I plan to be using my phone extensively. When I was in Egypt for 3 weeks my roaming bills were horrendous. I am also from Australia, and also with Optus- I don't think that makes any difference but an interesting coincidence!

Out of curiosity bebox... you wouldn't be from Perth, right? If you are... I may have even bumped into you at a J-related event here I guess... 8)


Sorry Khyron - forgot to check back for a while. No I'm from Brisbane so wrong side of the country. Strangely enough the Japanese guy who helped me at the Harajuku Softbank store had spent a year in Perth on exchange...spooky! :)

As a rabid user of my mobile phone for 15 years this hurts me to say but I have to agree with JWLeggroan. When I couldn't get the 3G SIM it meant that I had no phone for 2 weeks in Tokyo and apart from having to make exact meeting places and times with my wife so I could wander off and look at electronics rather than just txting each other, I didn't miss the phone at all. I had a laptop back at the hotel so got my email etc that way at night.

Having said that I'll be jailbreaking my iphone next time I return so I can use the SoftBank SIM :)
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