For a long time, one of the biggest troubles one would have when coming to Japan was to get a phone number. To get a bank account you would need a phone number, and to get a phone number you would need a bank account. It was a puzzle to be solved. Thankfully, times are changing.
JP Mobile has just started a new service, JP SMART CALL, a SIM card that works in any SIM-free smartphone, and that can be purchased by credit card or by cash at a convenience store with only one required document: a valid Residence Card. That’s right. No need for bank account and personal stamp. Everything can be done online, for your best convenience!
This service is offered by JP Mobile, a low-cost, foreign friendly mobile services provider. We are fans of them here at Guidable. You can find our previous articles about them here.
Today I will be reviewing their newest service, JP SMART CALL.
International phone calls and VoIP – trouble in Japan
Japan has been welcoming expats for a while already. There are many people from overseas living in Japan, that means many are missing their families that stayed in their home countries. Until the mid 00’s everyone would use international phone calls to talk to their loved ones at home. These phone calls were very expensive, and for those that didn’t have a phone at their places, the only option was to use public phones that were available for international phone calls. Unfortunately, they weren’t very common.
A group of friends from Brazil already living here at the beginning of 90’s told us that there were huge lines to use public phones on pay-day. With the advance of technology, internet connections became cheaper, and Skype was launched in 2003. This has made it easier for expats and international students from all over the world to communicate with their homes.
When VoIP became a standard tool, we could see people saying that they won’t have phone numbers anymore, that they would only use VoIP. Well, not in Japan.
The importance of having a phone number in Japan
A mobile phone number is important in Japan as it is necessary for opening a bank account, renting a place to live, purchasing tickets to events online, making phone calls to toll-free numbers, and this is just to list a few.
Recently, web services that request personal authenticity ask for a phone number so they can send you access codes by SMS.
As you can see, since a mobile phone number must be registered to an individual, it has become a powerful tool for identity identification.
Getting a mobile phone number in Japan
Our best advice is that you get a phone number as soon as you arrive in Japan.
Until recently, there were only 3 options of mobile communication providers, and all of them had, and still have, a contract period of 2 years.
That means if you purchase a SIM card from one of these companies, and want to cancel it before 2 years have passed, you have to pay a fee for breaking the contract.
Fortunately, the government created a law that authorized the utilization of MVNO in Japan. Thanks to this law we now have other options for mobile cellphone providers.
Even with other options, it is still common for foreigners to have trouble trying to get a phone or a SIM Card. First, most companies still have a contract period, which can be inconvenient for those who are not going to stay that long in Japan. Also, many will not accept your residence card as a proof of your residence in Japan, or will ask you to present a bank account, or will ask you a personal stamp. Getting a phone number in Japan can be really stressful.
But it is too fast to give up.
JP SMART CALL – foreign-friendly and reasonable SIM Card
JP SMART CALL is the newest service by JP Mobile. With this SIM Card, you can get a phone number in Japan without going through all the trouble that you would have if getting a phone number from other companies. Why do we recommend JP SMART CALL?
FIRST: No need for a credit card or bank account
This benefit clears the problem we get when the bank account asks for a phone number and the phone company asks for a bank account. With JP SMART CALL, you can get a phone number as soon as you land in Japan – no need to provide a bank account or credit card.
SECOND: Apply with just your Residence Card
No need to get documents in the city hall for getting your phone number! If are not coming for tourism, you will receive your residence card while doing the immigration process at the airport. It is a super simple process. After you get your residence card, with your address printed on, use it to apply to JP SMART CALL online!
THIRD: Multilingual support
The last thing you want is not being able to talk to the support desk when you have a problem with your phone, right? Don’t worry! If you choose JP SMART CALL, you will be able to ask for support in English, Chinese, and Vietnamese.
BONUS: Free services!
Who does not want to save some money, huh?
JP SMART CALL is giving new users a first month’s basic charge for free! For example, let’s say you have applied to JP SMART CALL on January 5th. You will not need to pay the basic fee from January 5th to 31st! Your basic charge will be invoiced from the next month on. Nice!
There are more FREE services! The delivery charge is free. You will apply online and the SIM Card will be delivered to your door for absolutely 0 yen! Great opportunity to stay home and rest after a long journey to Japan.
Last but not least, one of the biggest FREE benefits from JP SMART CALL: FREE contract cancelation charge ANYTIME. You can cancel your contract anytime, there is not such a thing as a binding contract at JP Mobile.
Also, JP Mobile has a really reasonable price: plans start at 2,480 yen per month, for internet + phone SIM Cards.
Are you convinced already that this is the most foreign-friendly, reasonable mobile carrier in Japan? Don’t waste your time looking further, trust us and visit their website!
Visit the JPmobile website for more information: https://www.jpsmart.net/lp/sim/1803/en/
It is a handy and friendly service for foreigners so we hope you enjoy using JP Smart SIM during your stay in Japan!