Before everything, we'd like to point out that we, as always, strongly recommend that you order a Pocket WiFi online before coming to Japan. Why? Because in almost every case it is more expensive to rent from the airport due to the notorious Airport Tax...
This post is mainly for those who did not have time to order online or did not know they could order online, and have arrived or are en-route to arrive at Narita Airport without any mobile internet prepared.
Narita airport official website has a list of companies that offer cell phones and mobile hotspot rental services. We're covering ones that offer rental services of mobile hotspot, portable WiFi router, Pocket WiFi, whatever you want to call it... (It’s nice to have your own mobile internet while in Japan!) For your convenience, we’ve excluded in our list, companies that do not have English information on their websites for Pocket WiFi rental services.
So, below is the list of WiFi rental service providers for Terminal 1 and 2. They all have a counter or a booth somewhere in Narita Airport. Today, we will go through the pros and cons for each company.
Rental Service Providers & Provider Location
Air's: Terminal 1
Global Advanced Communications: Terminal 1 and 2
JAL ABC: Terminal 1 and 2
GENKI MOBILE: Terminal 1 and 2
Softbank Global Rental: Terminal 1 and 2
Telecom Square: Terminal 1, 2, and 3
XCOM GLOBAL: Terminal 1 and 2
PUPURU: Terminal 1 and 2
Now, let's look at the options one by one.
Their website is made with Wix, the website builder, and it does not look so great but at least it supports English and Russian.
They do mobile phone rentals too but we look into their mobile WiFi rental specifically for this post.
They have only one model for WiFi rental, very simple. It's a mobile router called WiMAX, using KDDI (au) network in Japan. The good thing about WiMAX is that some of those models allow you to use unlimited data without fair usage policy or possible speed restriction. However, we can't tell if their model allows "true" unlimited data or not from their website.
The downside of WiMAX devices is that sometimes they have coverage issues especially underground, in buildings, and in the rural areas of Japan. So, that could be a bit troublesome if you plan to travel outside of metro areas.
Their daily rental rate varies on the rental length. (Not sure if the following prices include 10% sales tax or not.)
- 1- 7 days: 1,000 JPY / day
- 8 - 14 days: 900 JPY / day
- 15 - : 850 JPY / day
(as of November 2019)
Well, not cheap I have to say... They accept cash so that's good for some folks.
They also offer an optional insurance service which is 150 JPY per day but we don't know how much of the costs it covers.
Overall, their website shows very little information and their ordering form is not well-designed. But one thing for sure is their price is not that cheap.
Let's move on to the next one...
Global Advanced Communications
They have a booth in both Terminal 1 and 2, and they also have an online store which can be helpful as you can book ahead of time and collect it from their booth in the airport.
Their website used to be super messy but got a bit better recently. But still ordering form is not well-designed.
They offer three different models of Pocket WiFi: super premium WiFi, premium WiFi, and standard WiFi. Each has different speed and data allowance.
Be aware that the speeds quoted (350mbps or 150Mbps) are theoretical figures based on all conditions being at best optimization. The actual speed will not be that high (this applies to all Pocket WiFi devices used in Japan). Also, there is some misleading information about "unlimited data". Read carefully, it's unlimited data WITH Fair Usage Policy (speed restriction / throttling).
As you can see in the screenshot above, their so-called unlimited data Pocket WiFi plans come with a fair usage policy. As the user, you should not assume that you can use high speed internet indefinitely.
Let's take their premium WiFi for instance to look at their pricing.
It starts from 5,200 JPY and it's up by 360 JPY per day after 5 days rental.
1-week rental costs around US$55 and 2-week rental costs around US$80. Their prices include tax. Not cheap but not too expensive either, I would say.
This is for premium WiFi plan so as you can assume their super premium WiFi is more expensive than this whereas their standard WiFi is a little cheaper.
For those who may be interested in their optional services, their offer portable battery for 800 JPY flat rate and insurance service. Some companies (like Connect Japan!) offer an extra battery for free but if you don't have one, 800 JPY will give you an additional 8 - 10 hours. The insurance can be purchased for 500 JPY fixed charge. However, their website only says that it covers 30% for non-repairable damages but we don't know how much is the original costs! (maybe somewhere on their site but could not find it.)
This company is a subsidiary of Japan Airlines, the biggest airline in Japan. They have a relatively clean website but the application / reservation form is very bad with Japanese and English put in one page... Also, note that the payment is at the time of return and not online. They accept all major credit cards and cash.
They offer a portable router type and a USB WiFi type. The site says 1,313 JPY and 997 JPY (tax included) respectively and I assume it's a daily rental fee (although it's written "rental fee: none" so confusing).
If my assumption is correct and they are daily rental fees, it's pretty expensive.
Also, the wifi router they use looks like a docomo one. So it's likely that it has less data allowance than SoftBank Pocket WiFi or WiMAX. In fact, you can find the following statement on their site.
Given their price and the doubt in the data allowance, I would not personally recommend this provider for WiFi rental unless you want to earn JAL miles! Yes, you can get 2 JAL miles per 100 JPY spent on their service.
This company has an e-commerce website too and you can book online to pick up at the airport. You can also have it delivered to a place in Tokyo area for 1,500 yen.
They have 1GB/day plan for 300 JPY per day, and 2GB/day plan for 500 JPY per day. These daily rental fee is by far the cheapest for the price at the airport BUT there is a catch: you need to pay 3,000 JPY for activation fee. (Not quite sure what activation they mean because WiFi hotspot devices do not usually need to be activated.) So it might end up being almost the same price as other companies. You need to do a math.
Also, it's worth pointing out that even though the site states that they cap 1GB or 2GB per day, we are a bit skeptical as to whether or not you can actually use 2GB in a day. For example, let's say you go with the ¥500/day option for 20 days. Your data total would end up being 40GB. That's more than what the standard Docomo portable WiFi normally allows. It's better to ask about the total data before you decide to go with them.
It's always a must to ask the provider (if you can communicate with them) if there is any form of possible data limitation or a shutout scenario when you rent Pocket WiFi at the airport.
Softbank Global Rental
Similar to most of the other companies, Softbank Global Rental also has website booking for rentals.
The website looks neat and clean. Their service is actually powered and provided by a company called GSM Rentafone, the provider of Anyfone Japan.
They have only one plan: Softbank Pocket WiFi with 4G LTE compatibility, which uses the same device that we offer as the 4G model at eConnect Japan.
A point that catches the eye right off the bat is that they charge a 315 JPY Administration fee for each contract. (What is this fee for!) What's more interesting though, is that their rental fee of 840 yen a day is Web Only. Makes you wonder how much they charge at the airport counter...
On their website, here again that fair usage policy rears its ugly head. As with all the other companies this means their Pocket WiFi is not true unlimited data.
You can rent their portable WiFi devices online too. Just by looking at their lengthy application form, you can tell the ordering process would be super time-consuming.
They have USB type devices as well as smartphones. And again, just like most other WiFi service rental providers, they have the statement about fair usage policy on their website as well.
If you go for one of their Pack Plans, their prices aren't bad. However, we are not sure how much data you can actually use with them because there is no detailed information about that on their site. They will most likely tell you at the counter. (A bit sketchy if you ask me!)
The USB type available is a bit cheaper of an option if you're looking to save.
They have a counter not only at Narita but also at Haneda, Kansai, New Chitose, Chubu, Fukuoka and Takamatsu airport. Having a presence at Fukuoka and Takamatsu airport is an extra point for them. They even have a 24/7 return box at each airport.
This company provides WiFi device rental services under the brand name "JAPAN WiFi".
Their service is subject to a speed restriction/limitation if and when you use 500MB or more in a day. The price for their mobile WiFi device rental is 780 JPY a day. Note that it does not include 10% sales tax though. You can score a discount if you rent for more than 8 days.
They offer insurance and mobile power bank too, for the unit price of 300 JPY per day per and 200 JPY per day respectively.
These guys operate online too.
(They've prohibited us from uploading their webpage screenshot here...)
They offer two types of mobile routers: Hi-Speed plan and Broad-Coverage plan for different needs. And translator gadgets called POCKETALK,
The Hi-Speed plan is a SoftBank Pocket WiFi device, the same as what we offer at eConnect Japan. They advertise it as "unlimited data" but it's unclear at this moment if their devices are true unlimited data (without any possible speed throttling whatsoever) or not. We strongly advise you to contact them for details if you are interested in renting from them.
They also have a device called WiFi WALKER for their Broad-Coverage plan which seems to be using the KDDI (au) network. We do not have much information about this type of device but according to their site, this plan has wider coverage area than the SoftBank one.
They also offer an extra power bank for 100 yen a day as well as insurance packages.
There are many things to consider when choosing a rental WiFi plan. One thing is certain... it is best to place an order online in advance for your device before arriving at the airport. With a little planning and preparation in advance, you can avoid paying the airport tax. Also, it's important to understand that almost no company out there is offering true unlimited access to data. To learn more check out our recent piece about this "unlimited WiFi" advertising craze.
We advise that you invest some time to select your pocket WiFi rental provider by looking at the details. eConnect Japan has a wide range of portable WiFi data plans that are catered specifically to an individuals travel needs.
Our website is extremely convenient. If you're at home and are planning your trip you can have your device waiting for you upon your arrival. If you have already arrived and can wait a day, consider the option of delivery to your hotel or post office.
We wish you the best in your travels in Japan. Explore, stay connected and have fun!