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Compared: Pocket WiFi Rental Options at Narita Airport

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. We have a dedicated blog post explaining why you should do so. We encourage you to check it out if you have not.
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 in route to arrive at Narita Airport without any portable WiFi preparation.
We'd also like to point out that we, eConnect Japan, have no plans of putting up a booth at the airport as we would have no choice but to raise our rental fees to offset the notorious Airport Tax...

Narita airport official website has a list of companies that offer cell phones and mobile hotspot rental service. We've picked up 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 WiFi hotspot while in Japan!) For your convenience, we’ve excluded the ones that do not have English information on their websites for Pocket WiFi rental services.

So, below is the list of WiFi service rental providers for Terminals 1 and 2. They all have a counter or a booth somewhere in Narita Airport. We will explain pros and cons for each company later in this post.

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
PUPURU: Terminal 1 and 2
Softbank Global Rental: Terminal 1 and 2
Telecomsquare: Terminal 1 and 2
XCOM GLOBAL: Terminal 1 and 2

Now, let's look at one by one.


Air's

air's website

It looks like they use WiMAX devices using KDDI au’s (one of the domestic Japanese carriers) network. The good thing about WiMAX is that some of those models allow you to use mobile data unlimitedly without fair usage policy or possible speed restriction, however unlimited mobile internet is subject to be banned depending on how the Japanese government (Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications to be precise) stands on this issue in the future.

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.

Below is a screenshot of their rental prices as of November 2018.

air's pricing

Note that this is the daily price (tax included) and that you will not be able to get the same discounts shown on the price list for orders placed weeks in advance.

They also provide a mandatory insurance plan which is 150 JPY per day and it covers 70% of the compensation fee.


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.

pocket wifi rental webpage

Sadly, their website is a bit messy so it might be a bit hard to navigate and order.

Anyway, they offer a wide range of products including 4 types of portable WiFi devices.
Be aware that the speeds quoted e.g. 187.5Mbps or 75Mbps 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 possible speed reduction.

data usage limit information for standard wifi

As you can see in the screenshots above and below, all the Pocket WiFi come with fair usage policy. Thus, you should not assume that you can use high speed internet unlimitedly.

data usage information for super premium wifi

Their basic pricing is shown below. It looks they sometimes offer holiday discounts so you might be able to get cheaper rental prices if you time it right.

global advanced communications rental prices

They also offer an extra power bank for 150 yen a day.
(By the way, eConnect Japan offers it for FREE, yeah!)

extra battery price


JAL ABC

This company is a subsidiary of Japan Airlines, the biggest airline in Japan.
They have different websites for Japanese and English.

JAL ABC English website

Device images used on the sites are different so we cannot tell what type of Pocket WiFi they offer. At least, they offer a portable router type and a USB type.

JAL ABC Japanese website

On both sites, they did not specify the data allowance but there is a precautionary statement of fair usage policy and the possibility of speed being restricted if excessive amount of data is used. So like always, their devices are not true unlimited data either.
Anyhow, they are quite pricy compared to the other providers.


GENKI MOBILE

They have an e-commerce website too. Not sure if they offer the same device for the same price at the airport given the fact that they must pay the airport tax.

genki mobile homepage

As far as we can tell from their site, they use the Docomo portable WiFi device. Docomo portable WiFi routers usually have much less data capacity compare to Pocket WiFi (Softbank) or WiMAX. Even though they cap 1GB or 2GB per day, we are not quite sure if you can actually use 2GB a day for example, let's say for 20 days use making a total of 40GB, that’s more than what the standard Docomo portable WiFi normally allows. It’s possible that they have special contracts with Docomo though.
It's always a must to ask the provider if there is any form of possible data limitation or a shutout scenario when you rent one at the airport.

By the way, their price system is quite interesting. 1GB/day for 300 yen seems quite reasonable but you still have to pay 3,000 yen for an activation fee. Not quite sure what activation they mean because WiFi hotspot devices do not usually need to be activated.

We will add more information here if and when we get it.


PUPURU

They operate online too.

pupuru homepage

It looks they even offer translator gadgets as well. That got us wondering if it actually works better than Google Translate or Goolge Assistant in a smartphone.

pupuru wifi rental plans and prices

The Hi-Speed plan is a Softbank Pocket WiFi device, same as what we offer at eConnect Japan. However, they advertise it as unlimited data which can be very tricky. What does "unlimited data" really mean? Please check our other blog post for a comprehensive and concise explanation.

They also have a device called WiFi WALKER for their Broad-Coverage plan which seems to be using the AU network. We do not have much information about this type of device but it looks similar to WiMAX, less coverage area but large data capacity. This might be a good option if you require a true unlimited data pack and will stay in a place that is within the network coverage area. Their prices are more or less average.

They also offer an extra power bank for 100 yen a day.


Softbank Global Rental

Same as most of the other companies, Softbank Global Rental also has a website booking system.

Softbank Global Rental homepage

Their 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, the same device that we offer as the 4G model at eConnect Japan.

softbank global rental plan and price

What's interesting is that they charge a 315 JPY Administration fee for each contract.
What's more interesting 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, there is a precautionary statement of fair usage policy. That means their Pocket WiFi is not a true unlimited data plan.

fair usage policy statement


Telecom Square

You can order their portable WiFi devices online too. Looking at their appliocation form, the ordering process can be very time-consuming.

telecomsquare homepage

They have USB type devices as well as smartphones.
Like other WiFi service rental providers, they have a statement about fair usage policy on their website as well.

data packat limitation statement

Their prices are ok, if you go for one of their Pack Plans. 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 probably tell you at the counter.

telecomsquare pack plan prices

USB type is available for a cheaper price if you are interested.

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.


XCOM GLOBAL

This company provides WiFi device rental services under the brand name "JAPAN WiFi".

xcom global homepage

Their site is clean and looks nice. However, it was not easy to find the information about data usage limit. We finally found it in their FAQ page.

data usage limit statement

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. You get a discount if you rent for more than 8 days.

JAPAN WiFi rental fees

They offer insurance and mobile power bank too, for the unit price of 400 yen per day per and 200 yen per day respectively.


Conclusion

There are many things to consider when choosing a rental WiFi plan. One thing is certain... it is best to place an order in advance online for your device before arriving at the airport. Be aware that in every case it is more expensive to rent from the airport booths and counters because of the mandatory airport tax.

We advise that you invest some time to select your pocket WiFi rental provider by looking at the details and take a look at our’s as well.

If you are 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 before having your device 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!