Getting your data and mobile connection in Japan – Softbank

**This is part of wackybecky’s travel chronicles in Japan 2012. Blogposts under this series will be short and sweet as I update daily as I travel. At the end of the trip I may edit and elaborate further if I have the time. For further queries, do drop me an email! ๐Ÿ˜€

If you arrive via Air Asia X, you will land at Haneda Airport at 10.30pm or thereabouts (accurate as of time of writing). Once you have cleared immigration, custom check and grabbed you bag (all in the 2nd floor), proceed to the 3rd floor of the arrival hall.

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Look for Softbank booth or just ask any of the officials on duty. There are information booths at the 2nd (arrival floor) and 3rd floor. Everyone I spoke to are all very friendly, helpful and they speak good English.

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At the counter, you will be shown your options:

Option 1:

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Option 2:

Softbank - wackybecky japan trip with airasia premium seats (3)

Option 3: The one I took:

Softbank - wackybecky japan trip with airasia premium seats (4)

Since I rely on data more than anything else, I chose the ULTRA WIFI. The only difference between that and the PocketWIFI ย is the data speed.
Trust me, while I was bunking in Haneda airport on the first night and as I navigate around Tokyo today, data connectivity via this device is decent at best. Signal drops quite a lot and I’ll have to reconnect again.
I’ll update more as I travel out of the city as I was warned that certain areas out of town may not have coverage.

Once you have decided on your option, you will have to pass them your passport for photocopying, fill in a form and of course, hand over your credit card for payment of deposit as well as for security.ย The first charge is JP YEN 400 of which I forgot what was the reason for. I’ll find out at Osaka airport and update here once I get the bill. The one time deposit is JP Yen 315 so I’m not sure why was I charged JP Yen 400.

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The final amount will be recorded at the end of the term of usage once you return the device. For me, I’m departing via Osaka Kansai Airport and the Softbank officer verified that it’s possible for me to return the device at Osaka airport as they do have a shop there.

The device comes in a little red bag with a micro USB charger that is Japan power point compliant. Obviously you will have to bring your converter if you’re from Malaysia.

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Just like any other micro USB device, you can charge it via a USB port; for example via a laptop. A full charge will last approximately 4 hours only.

softbank data japan - mobility and plan-20121027

And yes, this mobile WIFI router allows multiple devices connectivity simultaneously so for me it’s my Asus Zenbook and my iPhone. When I met my friend today he connected his BB to it without any issues.

To see your connectivity, just look at the screen. It shows 3G, a little number (1-3) to indicate connection strength (near the WIFI icon) and your battery levels. The yellow sticker lists down your password (among others) to log in to the network by this mobile router.

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For me, I will be in Japan for 12 days so below are my EXPECTED charges.

Japan - softbank for mobile data

According to the Softbank officer, my credit card will be charged about 10 days after I return the device; which for me is 14th November since I’m departing Osaka on the 5th. Yup, it is almost RM40 per day so it is similar to the Celcom (RM38/day), DIGI (RM36/day) unlimited data packages. However, Celcomย doesn’t provide unlimited data coverage for Japan so this was my only option.

**EDITED
It’s RM60/day. My bad, wrong calculations – thanks to Timing who commented here.
It’s my 7th day in Japan and it has served me very well so far, even in Kobe area. Good coverage.
All my hostels provide free WIFI but the connections sucks real bad. I can’t even load my FB page!
Also, hostel provide WIFI at the lobby area or some like J-Hoppers in Osaka has dedicated WIFI on every floor. But trust me, it still terribly slow. I’m really glad I got this mobile router. Though it costing me a bomb for 12 days at almost RM800! ๐Ÿ™

At time of writing, I wasn’t able to find an alternative to this (Japan telco that provides unlimited data/prepaid sim for foreigners). Do drop me a note if there is?

NOTE:
The Softbank counter closes at 11.00pm so be quick if you’re on a late night flight.
It’s only available at the airports so if you miss it, you will not be able to get your mobile data/prepaid sim in the city area (this was what I was told by the Softbank personnel).
Information accurate as of writing: 25th October 2012.

Current conversion: 100 yen = RM4.00. You need at least 150 Yen to buy you a basic bun in the local 7-11. You get the drift.

UPDATE!!
27 May 2013: Another friend used this – cheaper too!ย http://www.econnectjapan.com/products/wifi

Pictures in this post:
sony nex f3