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Which of Japan's three mobile operators — NTT Docomo, SoftBank and KDDI — would you recommend and why?

16 Comments

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16 Comments
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None of the three. Used all three of them over the years and all three of them offer the same hostage packages. They are all smiles as long as you're a customer but that changes when you tell them that you're leaving. Suddenly the smile and customer service are gone. My wife who had been a Docomo customer for over 20 years couldn't get her data transfered to her new phone because she was leaving them and her new phone wasn't a Docomo branded one. They said they couldn't do it because the phone was not Docomo branded although they had the same Xperia in the store. As long as you're staying with them and agree paying the ridiculously high monthly fees you get good customer service

7 ( +8 / -1 )

You missed the other option, which is an MVNO. I'm not a heavy phone user, so a few years ago I switched to an MVNO that uses the Docomo network. You can get a decent sim-free phone for about 20-30,000 yen and my monthly bill is less than a quarter of what I was paying SoftBank. So far so good.

8 ( +8 / -0 )

I didn't have a mobile phone for more than ten years but last year we moved to a more countryside place so I decided I needed a mobile. My wife had her mobile iPhone and AU which we can used for many years. Went with a family plan and iPhone Xr.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

What shipwrecked said. Watch your bill be cut in more than half.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Japan desperately needs cell competition. I’ve been with au and Softbank, will not use docomo. au (KDDI) was easy to leave, don’t know how they are now. Cell service is still a notorious lip off (bit of bilingualism there).

1 ( +1 / -0 )

skotmanforyou

exactly. Well said.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

To answer the question as asked - Docomo. Solid, reliable network and the only one that had any kind of service immediately after 3.11. By far the quickest Data out there. Note, I am NOT referring their prices or contracts.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Non of them as above! MNVO have evolved and there's quite a competition between the smaller providers.

Thus said technically MNVO with Docomo network. Large market for brand new and second hand Docomo devices that work with their SIM cards.

Using MNVO with AU SIMs you have to unlock even AU branded iPhones and you can't use tethering on them!

1 ( +1 / -0 )

MNVO are only cheaper if you mostly want DATA more than phone use. The DATA speeds are also throttled when reaching the set limits.

My iPhone AU plan with unlimited five minute calls and 1GB data is ¥4200.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

I hit 1700yen a month with Rakuten Mobile (MVNO) using a Docomo network. Still coming nowhere near the data limit. Still watching YouTube and listening to Spotify as much as I want since most of the time I'm using wi-fi when at home. Rakuten phone calls are free too (I forgot for how long) but hardly use it anyway since I Line people most of the time. It'll go up to 2900yen a monrh after 2 years but that's still less than half of what I was paying Docomo.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Mvno is the way to go. Lowered my bill from 6.000 to 1.600 with OCN and the wife went from 8.000 to 2.500 after pushing her for two years to quit Docomo. Now she is amazed how much she saves every month when she sees her phone bill

1 ( +1 / -0 )

None. Horribly overpriced compared to many other countries.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

In terms of service (I've had all of the top three) I would say docomo is the fastest and generally the most reliable. They're all really pricy though so...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

We recommend DOCOMO for people who enjoy climbing, hiking at heights and driving at heights. Mobile phones save your life in the event of distress or trouble.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

MVNO is the best way to go, as so many others have said. Line Mobile, Mineo, IIJMio, UQ, etc using their "D" plans will give you the excellent Docomo network, without the heinous Docomo bills.

And, if you go data-only, without a phone number (using apps like Line, FB, Hangouts, etc for voice calls), it's even cheaper.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

Not KDDI. Years ago I mislaid my phone when drunk and found over 60k JPY of calls to Bangladesh had been made between me losing it and cancelling it. When I went to report it to my local store the lady was a right cow and accused me of lying about it being stolen because I didn't want to pay the bill!

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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