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Mobile Phone Contracts in Japan with Carriers and Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
Mobile Phone Contracts in Japan

July 2017

There are two major kinds of mobile phone contracts in Japan. The first choice is a contract with Japanese three national wireless carriers which are NTT docomo, au, and Softbank. The second choice is a contract with Japanese Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) which do not have their own wireless networks. The MVNO operate on either the NTT docomo, au or Softbank networks. Generally, MVNO offers cheaper plans than carriers because they don't have to invest or spend maintenance costs in the infrastructures of wireless networks.



Coverage is not an issue with MVNO, as MVNO are covered under the same wireless networks of national wireless carriers. One of the biggest difference between carriers and MVNO is the data speed. In crowded areas or internet rush hours, MVNO tend to provide slower data speeds due to their contracts with national wireless carriers.



One more difference between carriers and MVNO is the minimum contract period, carriers tend to have a two-year minimum contract period, while MVNO only require one-month or one-year. Most of the prepaid SIM cards sold in Japan are provided by MVNO.




Japanese National Wireless Carriers
# Wireless Carriers Number of Contracts Market Share 3G Bands&Frequencies 4G Bands&Frequencies
1 NTT docomo 74,879,600 46.0 % W-CDMA
Band 1 (2.1GHz)
Band 19 (800MHz)
LTE
Band 1 (2.1GHz)
Band 3 (1.8GHz)
Band 19 (800MHz)
Band 21 (1.5GHz)
Band 28 (700MHz)
2 au 48,540,100 29.8% CDMA2000
Band 1 (2.1GHz)
Band 18 (800MHz)
LTE
Band 1 (2.1GHz)
Band 11 (1.5GHz)
Band 26 (800MHz)
Band 28 (700MHz)
Band 41 (2.5GHz WiMAX)
3 Softbank 39,310,100 24.2% W-CDMA
Band 1 (2.1GHz)
Band 8 (900MHz)
Band 9 (1.7GHz)
Band 11 (1.5GHz)
LTE
Band 1 (2.1GHz)
Band 3 (1.8GHz)
Band 8 (900MHz)
Band 41 (2.5GHz AXGP)
Source: Telecommunications Carriers Association, IIJmio Meeting 6
Note: Data as of March 2017.
Note: Total number of contracts above include 8,100,000 contracts of MVNO.



Japanese Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO)
# MVNO Market Share by Contracts Website
1 OCN Mobile ONE 17.0 % Website
2 IIJ MIO 14.9% Website
3 Rakuten Mobile 9.6% Website
4 Mineo 7.4% Website
5 FREETEL 5.3% Website
6 BIGLOBE 5% Website
7 UQ mobile 4.3% Website
8 Others 36.5% N.A.
Source: MM Research Institute
Note: Data as of March 2017





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Japan 4G LTE iPhone, Android Phone

Japan 4G LTE iPhone, Android Phone
iPhone 6 iPhone 5c Andorid Phone
Rental Fee 680 JPY/day or 580 JPY/day 600 JPY/day or 500 JPY/day 520 JPY/day or 420 JPY/day
OS iOS iOS Android
Data-Throttling Limits 6GB/month 6GB/month 6GB/month
Phone Number Yes Yes Yes
SMS Yes Yes Yes
Display Language Almost all languages Almost all languages Almost all languages



Easygo Japan SIM Card Rental

Japan SIM Card Comparison
Data SIM (350MB/day) Data SIM (500MB/day) Talk+Data SIM (350MB/day)
Rental Fee 240 JPY/day 290 JPY/day 450 JPY/day
Speed Test Results* 5Mbps-30Mbps 5Mbps-30Mbps 5Mbps-30Mbps
Data-Throttling Limits 350MB/day 500MB/day 350MB/day
Phone Number No No Yes
SMS No No Yes
Compatible Networks NTT docomo 4G LTE/3G NTT docomo 4G LTE/3G NTT docomo 4G LTE/3G
* Our speed test results do not represent any minimum guaranteed speeds. The data speed may vary depending on the location, time and the type of your device.





Easygo Japan Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Rental

Easygo Japan Mobile Wi-Fi Hotspot Comparison
High-Speed Wi-Fi (2.4GB/3days) High-Speed Wi-Fi (1.2GB/day) Mid-Speed Wi-Fi (Unlimited Data)
Rental Fee 540 JPY/day or 470 JPY/day 650 JPY/day or 570 JPY/day 490 JPY/day
Speed Test Results* 3Mbps-30Mbps 3Mbps-30Mbps 0.5Mbps-10Mbps
Data-Throttling Limits 2.4GB/3days 1.2GB/day Unlimited Data**
Battery Life 18h 18h 13h
Ideal if You Value Data Speed Data Speed Data Amount
Ideal for Use by 2-3 persons 3-4 persons 3-5 persons
Compatible Networks NTT docomo 4G LTE/3G NTT docomo 4G LTE/3G NTT docomo 4G LTE/3G
* Our speed test results do not represent any minimum guaranteed speeds. The data speed may vary depending on the location, time and the type of your device.
** An extremely large amount of data usage with the Unlimited Data Wi-Fi may trigger the throttling for the rest of the day.



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