Cheap smartphone SIM card deals in Japan


How much per month is your cheap SIM card? graph of japanese statisticsMobile Marketing Data Labo recently looked at usage of cheap SIM card.


Over the 3rd and 4th of July 2015 1,064 users of cheap smartphone SIM cards completed a private internet-based questionnaire. However, no further demographic information was presented.

My two year contract is up in a couple of months, and I am almost definitely going to switch from my full-service but 5,000 yen per month plan to perhaps a 3GB data-only plan (no-one phones me!) with a public wi-fi add-on option and keep my current device, saving over 3,500 yen in the process, so even if my phone dies within a year, I’ll be able to buy a new one with the savings.

Research results

Q1: Do you have another communications device as well as the one you use your cheap SIM card on? (Sample size=1,064, multiple answer)

Yes, feature phone55.5%
Yes, tablet52.3%
Yes, other4.5%
No, no other device16.6%

Q2: How did you obtain the device you use your cheap SIM card with? (Sample size=1,064)

Bought a new SIM-free smartphone separately30.8%
Use an Android smartphone I previously had18.4%
Bought a used SIM-free smartphone9.6%
Got smartphone as a package with the SIM card8.7%
Use an iPhone I previously had7.8%
Bought a used SIM-free smartphone at auction4.5%
Got it from a friend, family0.9%
Using it with a tablet9.3%
Using it with a wifi router7.0%

Q3: What kind of cheap SIM card plan do you have? (Sample size=1,064)

Voice plus data plan43.6%
Data only plan54.9%
Don’t know1.5%

Q4: How much per month do you pay for your cheap SIM card? (Sample size=1,064)

Data only
500 to 999 yen34.2%5.2%57.5%
1,000 to 1,499 yen18.8%13.4%23.3%
1,500 to 1,999 yen17.4%31.0%7.0%
2,000 to 2,499 yen10.1%17.9%3.6%
2,500 to 2,999 yen7.0%10.3%4.6%
3,000 to 3,499 yen5.4%10.6%1.2%
3,500 to 3,999 yen3.1%5.4%1.4%
4,000 to 4,499 yen1.4%2.6%0.5%
4,500 to 4,999 yen0.7%1.1%0.2%
5,000 yen or more2.0%2.6%0.7%

Q5: What is your data plan limits? (Sample size=1,064)

Data only
Under 1GB12.3%8.4%15.4%
1GB to under 2GB16.6%14.7%18.0%
2GB to under 3GB24.5%20.3%28.4%
3GB to under 4GB18.6%22.0%16.3%
4GB to under 5GB7.9%12.3%4.3%
5GB to under 6GB4.8%7.1%2.7%
6GB to under 7GB3.6%5.4%2.1%
7GB to under 8GB1.9%3.0%1.0%
8GB to under 9GB0.6%1.1%0.0%
9GB to under 10GB1.8%1.9%1.7%
10GB or more3.3%3.0%3.6%
Don’t know4.1%0.9%6.5%
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1 Comment »

  1. July 25, 2015 @ 12:27

    This one is a continuing source of fun for visitors, and the game is changing fast. Currently, when I spend a month in Japane on vacation each year, I use an old Softbank flip-phone (a feature phone) for voice. 3KY at the airport to load it – it has to be a Softbank model, (bought on prev visit on yahoo) but the batteries last for days..
    An old android phone for data- data sim from Asahi Net. They have Eng. staff, you can order it on your furreign credit card before hand, have it sent to the all-needed Japanese address, and it will be waiting for you. Do the setup (instructions incl) and you have Google Maps and can upload twitter pix. Unless your android phone runs 4.1-4.4 and you do this nasty Xposed patch trick, you will have to keep the phone in AIRPLANE mode when not in use, or it will suck the battery dry trying to connect to a voice service. Phones are just built that way.

    Residents with a visa can get the voice+data plan sims and avoid this.

    The flip phone at the airport wants all your ID, (first time will run you an extra Y3K in cash to register YOU)
    The data plan not
    Date plan cost is under Y1000/month with Y2K setup fees to about Y3K ($30) or 40$/ Y4k because you didn’t cancel in time and bought an extra month you didn’t need. You mail the sim back when you leave.

    Good service, can even google voice on it. Lots more plans available if you are staying longer and have a visa/ residency card.

    Under 2 weeks, pay the $1/day Softbank sim rental and heavy use charges and pop it in your unlocked iphone/ android phone.

    Nice article, will quote when I update my thing..

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  1. July 26, 2015 @ 08:54

    […] a smartphone, check out this recent study. Plenty of folks in Japan do it too, to save big.  See: Cheap smartphone SIM card deals in Japan By Ken Y-N at the What Japan Thinks […]