Tuesday, February 1, 2011

..Getting a keitai in Japan is getting on my nerves..

Hi guys! Irié there !
Getting closer to departure time! My tickets are booked, I will be arriving at Tokyo HANEDA airport in the middle of March with Japan Airlines . Around 11 flight hours eek.

So I am busy with boring papers. One thing that I hate in Japan is that fees are hidden everywhere so you never know how much you end up paying on housing, mobile phone, etc. Wanna see how far it goes? Okay let's talk today about keitai, or mobile phone in Japan!

Yes! That's a mini-Irié playing on her iPhone.
Credits to my gifted friend Nyanyo, check her page!

First I thought about getting one of the Shibuya 109 co-branding keitai...

"For gyarus that always desire to shine"

Huge marketing campaign, cobranding CM

But wait...
What's the point of getting a cell phone with purikura-type features when you already have an iPhone with the same apps and even more! OMG, marketing is so devilish lol. Anyway, the technical information doesn't look good either and to say the truth, I really hate this opening style for cell phones (popularized by the movie Matrix haha).

I felt in love with this one but I guess it's already out of stock :
Style DoCoMo SH-04C
15 December 2010, limited edition, 15.000 units for each color

But once again, it will never be as convenient as a smartphone. I rely to much on my apps now especially the GPS function when I get lost in the streets, Around Me app, train schedule app, etc. So I will rather keep my iPhone and get a lot of kira kira deco on it!

And this is where things get complicated.
  • First, it is unlikely to get a SIM card or mobile number in Japan without buying a phone. The official reason is to prevent any criminal use since you will need to register the cell phone with your ID documents such as ID card, driving license or passport if the shop accepts foreigners as customers.
  • For short stays, a rental phone can be used. You can get one easily in Haneda or Narita airport. They will keep a copy of your Credit Card and passport and charge you around 400 yen per day in addition to communication time (you can only call or receive emails).
  • For longer stay, you can get a prepaid phone that works with rechargeable cards. But even if the phone is 3G, you won't be able to use "data connection" features such as going on the Internet. To really benefit from 3G possibilities, you need to buy a subscription plan + phone which requires an alien registration card and a Japanese bank account. Oh and the contract is 2 years minimum with penalty fees if you want to free it.

And what if you bring your own (unlocked) phone with you for longer stay? Well the staff will probably ask you to buy their own phone anyway. Or not allow the subscription plan at all if your alien registration card expire in less than 2 years (which is almost always the case). But I heard that sometimes it can work and you can be granted a subscription plan without the phone... I will try to look nice and charming in front of the staff lol. Or ask a relative/friend there to open it for me but I wonder if the bank account should bear the same name. Probably yes, that would be to easy otherwise haha.

Struggle is not over yet. What an epic gameplay ビックリ...
Now I understand why people talk about their phone so much in Japan, investment in time and efforts is almost equivalent to buying a car of a house! For example the welcoming pic on Softbank's website for smartphones subscriptions (main company in Japan with Docomo) うひゃあー:

Remember about fees everywhere?
  1. Well first, you are supposed to pay for a mobile phone.
  2. Then you are supposed to buy a first pack for call services (basically, it is 980 yen per month + 21 yen per minute, I won't mention all the conditions and rates).
  3. Then you are supposed to buy a second pack for unlimited email and SMS/MMS (315 yen per month)
  4. Then you are supposed to pay for the data connection pack, and wait... there are 2 formula depending on how much you want to download data!?
2 possibilities: Packet houdai S in grey and Packet houdai Max in blue

Honestly, it looks more like a financial derivatives payoff profile rather than a price explanation lol.
And I didn't even mention discount possibilities!
Nor did I talk about "packet" unit which is different than bytes/octets and makes it almost impossible to estimate your data consumption. 

Enjoy Japanese keitai!

1 comment:

  1. Chouchou,

    Pourquoi tu regarde chez Softbank? Essaye les autres peux etre il y aura qq chose qui te convient +?? Moi je vais changer de Softbank pour Docomo le mois prochain a cause des mauvaises couvertures du reseau