Mobile phones


10-10-2004, 01:16 PM

Hello, TFers!

I’ve recently relocated to Japan and I need to buy a mobile phone. There are numerous providers, phone models, and plans to choose from. The question is, which one is the best?? What do fellow TFers thinks? Things to consider, syempre, would be cost, functionality, english-language capability, contract terms (length of time etc), ease of payment, etc etc. I don’t think I need the latest model or anything too fancy. Your opinions would be very much appreciated!!

Question number 2: What is the best way to make international calls? I would be calling a lot to the Phils and to the US. I heard that the Brastel phonecard is good? What is the word on the street?

Question #3: what about this thing where you can apparently rent the landline connection from gaijin moving out of the country? Does anyone have experience with this?

Tenkyu, tenkyu, tenkyu!


10-11-2004, 11:00 PM

Answer 1: If you are a student, then AU provides a student discount; you’ll just pay half the regular price. Otherwise, I think the cell phone companies are basically the same, if you’re not looking for anything fancy, as you said. I would probably choose a company that most of my friends/ colleagues patronize so that I can send text messages to them without having to use cellphone email. If you just need a frills-free phone and without the monthly bills, then you can consider the vodafone enjorno cell phone. It’s a prepaid service and the initial outlay is 4,000 yen for the unit plus a 3,000 yen card which is good for 3 months. You can get this from your nearest 7-11.

Answer 2: Before I had broadband service at home, I was using Brastel exclusively. Unlike with other phone cards, I don’t feel short-changed by Brastel. The lines are good and the deal is fair.

Answer 3: If a gaijin is moving out of the country for good, then chances are, he’ll be selling his phone line, not rent it out. Check out the latest issue of Metropolis. Phone lines are being sold there for 20,000 to 30,000 yen. If you get directly from NTT, you’ll probably have to pay 70,000 yen. I wouldn’t recommend these ISDN lines, unless you’re willing to be screwed.



10-12-2004, 03:58 PM

hi andres,

welcome to the land of bleeding edge cellular technology (which, unfortunately, you can use only in japan) :slight_smile:
here are links to the billing plans for the different cellphone providers.
au by KDDI (
Vodafone (,3050,LANGUAGE_ID%2 53D0%2526CONTENT_ID% 253D0,00.html)
hope this helps in your decision. i use au because of the student discount, which you can’t avail of, unfortunately. :frowning:

if you’re planning on getting a broadband connection in your apartment, try Skype ( to call overseas. it only costs 0.161 Euros (21.81 yen) a minute for calls to landline phones in the philippines, and 0.017 Euros (2.3 yen) a minute to calls to the US. the quality is the best from all the VoIP solutions i’ve tried (better than Yahoo BB phone and much cheaper). and if the person you’re calling also has an internet connection and skype, you can call each other for free. i think skype’s rates are very competitive against fonecards (though i haven’t used one for a while).

just as daddy_b wrote, gaijins moving out of the country usually sell their phone rights. there are also companies that sell phone rights cheap (the current market price is around 20,000 yen) the good thing about buying phone rights is that you can sell it when you leave the country. renting one is not economical if you’re going to stay for more than a year.


10-15-2004, 05:58 PM

Maraming salamat daddy_b at paul!
Sige pag-aaralan ko nang mabuti ang aking mga options. Mukhang interesting din talaga yung Skype, kaya lang wala pa akong computer.


10-15-2004, 07:13 PM

Follow-up question regarding phones… I’m still a little bit confused about certain things. (1) If, for example, I buy an NTT DoCoMo handset, does that mean I can only call people who use DoCoMo as well? (2) Can I use this phone from anywhere in Japan, and can I call to anywhere in Japan?
Yeah I guess I’m just suspicious of these newfangled gadgets :). Thanks.


10-15-2004, 11:56 PM

  1. no, you can use a docomo cellphone (or any japanese cellphone for that matter) to call any cellphone (or PHS or landline phone) but the rates would be different according to your plan.

  2. you can use it anywhere in japan as long as there’s a signal. you can call to any number in japan (except for some toll-free numbers yata) and you can also call overseas.

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