/ pocket wifi

Reviewed: Pocket WiFi Rental Choices at Kansai Airport [KIX]

Let’s face it, among the slew of problems involved with preparing to travel to Japan, having an operable smartphone is at the top of that list. In this day and age being connected to internet is a necessity, especially when traveling.  

As many readers may already know, it is fairly simple to get a sim card in most countries when traveling. What's less known, is that Pocket WiFi units (Hotspots, or Mobile WiFi) are also a very popular choice that have many distinct advantages over sim card. If you need any more convincing, we at eConnect have already provided a detailed comparison of the two options you can find written on our website.

Although we are big proponents of securing your Pocket WiFi units online prior to your arrival in Japan, we understand that this type of planning is not feasible for everyone.

To assist those who arrive in the Kansai region (Osaka, Kyoto, Kobe, Nara, etc.) without Pocket WiFi, through Kansai International airport in Osaka, we have comprised a list of the companies in the airport that are offering Pocket WiFi rentals. Also, in this list is a comprehensive breakdown of the English ability as well as the friendliness level of the staff at each provider (based on my interactions with each individual business).

Most of the companies offering Pocket Wifi also have websites, which we will provide the links to down below. Also it should be mentioned that the KIX also has a website with information about all of the providers at the airport as well.

*Note: In this list, all of the companies at the airport that did not speak English well enough to converse and did not have websites providing information in English, have been excluded from this list.

Softbank Global Rental – Terminal 1 First Floor

AnyFone Japan – Terminal 1 First Floor

Telecom Wi-Fi – Terminal 1 First Floor

Ninja WiFi (Global WiFi) – Terminal 1 First Floor


Okay, now lets breakdown our options;

SoftBank Global Rental

Hours Of Operation/Location:

Location 1: (14 on map) to the left of 1F exit B - 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM

Location 2: (18 on map) to the left of 1F exit F - 7:30 AM to 8:30 PM

Breakdown:

SoftBank is one of the biggest networks in Japan, so it is no surprise that they have a notable presence in the airport. SoftBank also offers pre-order via their website. Their website is intuitive and easy to use.

Prices shown on their website

The website claims (screenshot above) that the 840 JPY rental fee is only if you order on the web. However, the actual branch at the airport informed me that you can also get this price if you are staying for 2 weeks or longer.  

Now lets delve into the pricing at the actual airport.

Price (Without Insurance):

Stay under 2 weeks: 970 JPY/Day

Stay 2 weeks or more: 840 JPY/Day

Insurance: (Added Onto Base Price)

Flat rate: 220 JPY/Day

*Insurance plan only covers half of the total cost (around 21,600 JPY)  

*In the case of no insurance, the renter is responsible for the entire cost of both the item and applicable accessories (case, charger, etc.)

*Full cost (around 43,200 JPY)

Additional Costs:

Administration Fee: One time charge of 315 JPY

Service/English Ability:

Overall, the service here was solid. The staff were very friendly and one of the staff members at the north gate branch was able to walk me through about every question I threw at him. English ability was great at both locations.


AnyFone JAPAN

Hours Of Operation/Location:

Location: (32 on map) to the right of 1F exit C - 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM

Breakdown:

This is where things get slightly confusing. AnyFone JAPAN is actually part of the same Australian company called GSM Rentafone who teamed up with the company SoftBank in 2003 when it came to Japan.

That being said, aside from the working hours, all the information above for SoftBank Global Rental is the same for AnyFone Japan. You can think of it as a third location in the airport for SoftBank Global Rental.

This also means that any rentals you take out from the AnyFone JAPAN window (shown above)  can be returned to either of the two SoftBank Global Rental locations and vice versa.

*Be noted, only SoftBank location 1 (14 on map) offers a 24 hour return box. This is valuable information for those of you who may have flights back to your home countries outside of working hours.

Service/English Ability:

The service here was also stellar. The staff member I chatted with walked me through all my options in nearly perfect English. The store also offers two different mobile translation devices, both of which he was kind enough to give me a demonstration of.


Mobile Center (Telecom Square)

Hours Of Operation/Location:

Location 1: (15 on map) to the right of 1F exit E - 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM

Location 2: (20 on map) to the left of 1F exit F - 7:00 AM to 10:30 PM

Breakdown:

Mobile Center (Telecom Square), referred to in the listing as Telecom Wi-Fi. This company's website is extremely difficult to navigate. The application form is also a nightmare to fill out because it's filled with a lot of technical jargon that most of us aren't familiar with. You would be better of just going to the actual shop upon arrival and booking your device then.

To break it down simply, there are two different options when it comes to Pocket Wifi. The unlimited data plan and the 500 MB plan.

The unlimited data plan seems to be the better of the two options although it's unlikely that it's a true unlimited data. There is likely a predetermined data cap and speed throttling (slowing of speed by the provider) based on the total data use. This is the same practice used by almost all of the companies providing WiFi router rentals in Japan. The only reason to go with the 500 MB plan is if your vacation destination within Japan will be a remote location. This is because the device you get with the 500 MB plan gets better coverage in rural areas.

Price (Without Insurance):

1-12 Days: 777 JPY/Day

12-20 Days: 648 JPY/Day

20-30 Days 432 JPY/Day

Insurance: (Added Onto Base Price)

Standard: 216 JPY/Day

*The "standard" insurance plan only covers 85% of the total cost (roughly 7000 JPY)              

Plus: 324 JPY/Day

*The "plus" insurance plan covers the entire cost in the case of theft, damage, or loss of mobile router and or the router’s other applicable accessories (case, charger, etc.).

*In the case of no insurance, the renter is responsible for the entire cost of both the item and applicable accessories (case, charger, etc.)

*Full cost (around 50,000 JPY)

Service/English Ability:

The service here was great as well. The staff were very attentive and spoke fluent English, the best out of all the shops on the list so far.


Ninja Wifi (Global Wifi)

Hours Of Operation/Location:


Location 1: (19 on map) to the right of 1F exit C - 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Location 2: (17 on map) to the left of 1F exit F - 7:00 AM to 10:00 PM

Breakdown:

This place seemed more expensive then the other options available, with a base price of 900 JPY/day. With that being said, when I told this to the staff, the gentleman at location 2 offered to price match any of the surrounding competitors.

Price (Without Insurance):

900 JPY/Day

Insurance: (Added Onto Base Price)

Partial: 200 JPY/Day

Full: 300 JPY/Day

*If you pay 10 days worth of insurance (3,000 JPY), then you are covered for the entire duration of your stay, regardless of length of trip. I would recommend this option to those whose vacation is over 10 days long.

*In the case of no insurance, the renter is responsible for the entire cost of both the item and applicable accessories (case, charger, etc.)

*Full cost: (around 25,000 JPY)

Service/English Ability:

The service here was moderate. It varied greatly from counter to counter. At one of the locations, a staff member had a hard time communicating with me in English. However, she was very nice and, through the help of the price and info listing, I was able to glean all the necessary information from her. Most of the places you visit in the airport will have all the relevant pricing and terms laid out for easy access and understanding.


Additional Information

As I had mentioned in the beginning of this article, there were a couple of additional companies at the airport also providing pocket WiFi, that have been excluded from this list based on English ability. The exception to that was the company HIS (Easy Go).

The staff at this booth were able to speak English but they refused to talk with me or give me any information on their pricing. One of the men behind the counter did finally, after a rude exchange, tell me that this window was only for pickups from online reservations. However, after going to their website and trying to use it myself, I found the site to be very difficult to navigate and had no information in English about the companies presence at the airport.

There is also another company called Pupuru that is listed on KIX's website. This company's mobile routers are also meant to be ordered online and picked up at the JAL ABC counter at the airport. (number 11 on map)

However, when I visited the JAL ABC booth, the staff there spoke no English and were unable to help me. So it may be prudent to go with one of the other companies at the airport. The pricing from JAL ABC is also significantly higher then that of the other providers.


Conclusion

While there are certainly many options for Pocket WiFi rental when you arrive here in Japan, it is guaranteed that renting your mobile WiFi unit online before touching down will save you tons of time and sanity. Cost-wise, after comparing all the pricing from the providers at the airport, it ends up being far cheaper to rent online as well.

This is why we, here at eConnect, are dedicated to providing the most streamlined, hassle free way of booking your Pocket WiFi cheap and effectively, online. Whether you're at home planning for your trip, or even if you are already here and can survive with no WiFi for one day (the amount of time it would take us to get it to your hotel or nearest post office), we would encourage you to check out our website and compare for yourself.

Whatever you decide, safe travels and enjoy your stay in the land of the rising sun!