Comparing Pocket WiFi vs Prepaid SIM for your trip to Japan
Why you should prepare your own mobile internet
If you're traveling to Japan for the first time, you shouldn't assume that you'll be able get free WiFi everywhere. Yes, being a highly developed nation, there are areas where you can get on free WiFi. But keep in mind that it is not available publicly at all times. And when you do find a free WiFi network, you may be frustrated to discover that it is not as fast or secure as the ones you enjoy at home.
While Japan is a technologically-forward country and its metropolises are some of the most advanced in the world, tourists are highly encouraged to have their own mobile internet solution to ensure they are able to stay online at all times. If you're planning a trip, it is therefore essential that prior to your visit, you have already figured out which one is better for your needs: a Pocket WiFi or a prepaid SIM (eConnect Japan offers both options by the way.)
To help you decide, we have dissected the benefits and drawbacks of each. Read on.
Pocket WiFi: Basic Info and Pros & Cons
A device many of you may be familiar with from one of its many different names around the globe. Known to some as MiFi, Portable WiFi, the Dongle, or Mobile Hotspot, this **mobile Internet** device works as a portable router that allows more than one gadget to connect to the World Wide Web at the same time. Although small enough to fit a pocket, it delivers a strong network connection usually found in wired broadband systems.
This may surprise you but Pocket WiFi, in most cases, actually provides much faster internet speed than prepaid SIM cards.
Pocket WiFi is not for sale. Only for rent.
- Ultra fast 4G / LTE network
- Large data (GB) allowance
- Allows multiple devices to connect, usually up to 10 devices
- Easy set-up (connecting to a WiFi with password)
- Nationwide network coverage
- Needs to be returned to the rental provider after your trip
- Needs to be charged on a daily basis
- Might need to bring a backup battery to ensure it works for a whole day
Simply put, if you are looking for high speed internet with a larger than most of prepaid SIM data allowance, Pocket WiFi rental is perfect for you.
And the only drawback is that it's for rent and you will have to return it at the end of your trip, just like a car rental. Also, being a portable device, it's an extra gadget for you to carry around and to charge but it should not be a big concern for most of travelers.
We at eConnect Japan provide a free portable battery (power bank) for free of charge to ensure an uninterrupted internet connectivity 24/7 so its battery capacity won't be an issue.
Lastly, Pocket WiFi is perfect for families or groups of people traveling together because it allows for high data use as well as multiple device connectivity. Also, a great option for the solo traveler out there who needs to connect various devices all at once.
Head over to our Pocket WiFi product page for more details!
Prepaid SIM: Basic Info and Pros & Cons
A prepaid SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card is a digital chip that is inserted into a dedicated slot inside a mobile phone or a tablet. It allows the phone or tablet to connect to a cellular network that provides internet data connection that users can take advantage of. To ensure reliability and nationwide coverage, eConnect Japan uses SIM cards only from the heavy-duty Docomo.
- No separate device or battery means less bulk and more mobility
- Disposable and hassle-free (no need to return after your trip)
- Slightly better nationwide coverage than the Pocket WiFi
- Setup is more technical as it requires APN configuration
- Internet speed is slower than Pocket WiFi
- Less data allowance than Pocket WiFi
- Cannot be used with a network-locked phone (many US phones have this problem)
If you are familiar with using prepaid SIM and don't want to carry any extra device with you, SIM card is a great option for your mobile internet needs in Japan.
For more information about our Japan Prepaid SIM, visit the product page below.
When choosing which mobile internet option will work best for your trip to Japan, keep the following things in mind: the number of companions you have, your devices, and your itinerary. If you are on a business trip or a person who needs an internet connection with blazing speed and a large data volume, we strongly recommend the Pocket WiFi. Also, if you are on a holiday with family or friends and each one of you needs to connect to the web simultaneously, then by all means, go for the Pocket WiFi for its multi-device connectivity. It also allows you to use a large data amount for a reasonable price all while being extremely easy to set up.
If the thought of bringing an extra device other than your phone is too much for you to handle or if you want simply don't want the hassle of having to be responsible for returning a Pocket WiFi rental unit, then the prepaid SIM is your best bet. It is also a great option for those out there who may not need an excessively large amount of data for just a few days of travel!
If you need more details about buying a good prepaid SIM or renting a Pocket WiFi device for a seamless travel experience, check out what affordable offers eConnect can provide you with.