There are a couple of options when it comes to getting online while traveling. Some people are just fine with occasional WiFi at a hotel or a cafe but many others are certainly looking for "always-connected" mobile internet options since being online 24/7 is something people crave for in this digital era.
Although SIM cards are handy and all that, Pocket WiFi rental has seen huge demand increase especially among travelers coming to Japan as it has distinguished advantages (will explain them later).
This article covers several Pocket WiFi plans we, eConnect Japan, offer in order to help you find a plan suitable for your Internet use.
Pocket WiFi vs Other Options
First of all, this article is in favor of Pocket WiFi over other options to access the mobile internet while in Japan. Pocket WiFi is highly recommended for its fast speed and large data allowance. The other possible option for mobile internet would be to purchase a Prepaid SIM card. Setup for Japanese prepaid SIM is a bit technical and requires APN configuration where as Pocket WiFi is as minimal as the phrase “plug and play”. Also the fact that SIM cards cannot be used by network-locked smartphones makes their use limited whereas Pocket WiFi is universal and can connect up to 10 devices at once. For these reasons this article recommends Pocket WiFi over Prepaid SIM cards, but if you want more information to compare, please check one of our previous blog post here.
As far as the notion of cruising Free Internet WiFi hotspots in Japan, forget about it... People are now starting to know that while Japan is a technological marvel with a forward looking population the idea of ubiquitous free WiFi is not here. The idea never caught on. Most familiar hotspot zones such as cafes, shopping malls, and transport hubs seem to offer something like free public WiFi but in the end the user is filling in forms and giving away email details just to use not-so-fast internet.
Pocket WiFi is the easiest and most convenient way to connect to the Internet while traveling in Japan. It is easy to set up and connect to, you can connect multiple devices (up to 10) at once, and the plans that we are offering can accommodate the heavy data and high speed connection needs of a gamer or the low frequency and light data user. Let's check out the plans and consider which type of user would benefit the most from each plan.
What plan is suitable for whom?
eConnect Japan currently offers 5 Pocket WiFi plans: 4G, 25GB, 50GB, LTE, and 10GB plan.
The main differences between them are the guaranteed high speed data allowance and network speed (4G or LTE).
Please note that all of them covers more than 99% of the populations in Japan.
4G plan is the most popular plan and has the most customer reviews. It uses SoftBank 4G network with nation-wide coverage and gives you a total of (2GB x the rental day) data for 4G high speed.
It suits for pretty much anyone: sole traveler, a couple or a family with normal internet activity during their travel in Japan.
From 392 yen per day. A 7-day rental costs around $50. But if you order 3 weeks in advance or earlier, you can get early bird discount of 15% off.
With 4G high speed with a good amount of data allotment, this model is the whole package with no drawbacks. If you're new to the Pocket WiFi rental, this model is highly recommended.
This plan gives you a total of 25GB of 4G high speed data regardless of the rental days. 25GB data is plenty for almost all travelers and is also good for heavy data users or families staying a week or so in Japan. After 25GB used, it's subject to speed restriction but the connection won't be cut off. Rental available for up to 30 days.
Suited for people who kind of knows what can do with 25GB (or 25,000MB) and roughly how much data they are going to need on the trip. Also a good option for business travelers needing high speed internet without possible speed throttling for a couple of days or up to a week.
A 7-days rental costs around $60 without early bird discount or promotional discount. This model becomes cost-effective if you rent more than 3 weeks.
25GB data is just a good amount for people not to worry about their data usage and possible speed restriction. It's more than enough for short-term stay and it's relatively cheap investment in reliable mobile internet for middle to long-term stay.
This plan provides you a total of 50GB data for 4G high speed internet. No speed throttling or restriction until you use up a whopping 50GB (50,000MB) of data. Rental available for up to 60 days.
Best suited for heavy data users, group travelers or nomad workers as well as business travelers. Also a good bet for people staying longer than a month.
A 7-day rental costs around $90. With early bird discount or other promotional discount, it's around $75 - 80. The longer you rent, the cheaper the daily rate.
Simply put, high speed with huge data allowance. It sets you free from worries about internet speed or your data usage. It becomes amazingly cheap for daily rental rate if you rent it for more than a month.
Almost the same as 4G plan except it uses SoftBank LTE network. Data allowance is 2GB x rental days. Slightly cheaper than 4G plan but still good internet speed with good amount of data allowance.
If you are not streaming YouTube or Netflix during so often your travel in Japan, you would not need large data allotment or ultra high speed internet after all. And this LTE plan will just do fine! LTE in Japan is still good and fast.
A 7-day rental costs around $45. The longer you rent, the cheaper the daily rental.
This plan is actually a good value for speed, data volume, and price. Unless you are really looking for top-notch Pocket WiFi, LTE model is more than what you end up needing for.
This plan gives you a total of 10GB for LTE speed. This is the cheapest model among our Pocket WiFi offers. Rental available for up to 30 days.
For budget travelers who won't be needing so much data. This is also a good choice for people staying for less than a week.
A 7-day rental costs around $40. The daily rental fee can go as low as 277 yen if rent for more than 3 weeks.
Anyone who are happy with 10GB (10,000MB) data should try this plan. If you are a light data user, 10GB should be enough for a couple of weeks or longer. If you are staying for a couple of days only, 10GB is just the right amount actually regardless of your internet activities.
It probably boils down to 1. how much data (GB) you'd like to have and 2. your budget when it comes to deciding which Pocket WiFi plan to go for.
Of course some of them are 4G network and others are LTE but the actual speed difference is not that big.
We suggest that you mull over what you are going to use internet for and how much data you will likely be using per day or in the entire trip. Then it's pretty easy to narrow down the options to find the best suited one for your travel in Japan.
But one thing we can say in confidence is that any of our Pocket WiFi provides fast internet that covers across Japan. And unless you are streaming videos all day long, the default data allotment on any plan should be sufficient because we design it in that way so that normal internet use won't reach the data limit.
With the information provided above in mind, let's head over to our Pocket WiFi plan page below and start planning your mobile internet option today!