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Unlocked iphone 5s


Dear nice people with knowledge of living in Japan,
Greetings from Texas. I will be working in central Japan for 9 months starting in mid March and I have an unlocked iphone 5s that I would like to use in Japan. I would like to get some kind of plan so that I can access a reasonable speed of data while walking and cycling around. I may stay for longer, than 9 months but that will have to be decided later, so I hesitate to sign a 12 month contract.

This Tokyo Cheapo website and the associated youtube channel look really useful. I have read some articles/ seen some video about sim cards and finding wifi spots at convenience stores and the train. I like the idea of the hockey puck sized mobile wifi router but on the video I saw it said they are useful for up to a month.

I am looking for ideas. I have a lap top as well as the iphone I will want to be able to connect to the internet.

I could splurge on a new (unlocked) iphone 7 if that were helpful.

Are there good options for monthly contracts? Right now I am in the USA and have a good deal with Virgin Mobile where there is no annual contract (I pay month to month) and get plenty of talk minutes + “unlimited” data and truly unlimited text messages for a reasonable price.
Cheers, Gillian


Hi Gillian!

Probably the best bet is to get one of the SIM’s in @CheapoGreg’s article here:

There’s short term contract options and they are way better value than the big providers which usually lock you into a longer term expensive contract.

Hope that helps!


Thank you for your time and the helpful link. I have thought more about it and would be willing to sign a 12 month contract to find the best deal with my unlocked iphone for a data accessibility when roaming the streets of Japan. Do you have suggestions or links you recommend for year contracts for unlocked iphones for good data plans?
Again, I appreciate your time. There is so much to consider when moving to Japan and this is one of the most important considerations (in my opinion).


Greetings from Hirakata! Today I went to Kozuhan mall in search of Bic Sim or someone from that list so I can work on setting up my unlocked iphone 5s with a data plan (and possibly a voice plan as well). I struck out. I will be here for at least a year and am willing to pay for a year contract and willing to pay well to have a good data plan for my phone so I can use google maps, check email, etc while on the streets. Where can I go to make this happen? I am happy to take the train into Osaka. Which plan do you recommend if you are willing to spend the money to get a good plan for an unlocked iphone 5s? Thank you in advance for your time and ideas. I appreciate it.


Hi Gillian,
You might have trouble finding specific retail outlets for some of the MVNO SIMs - most of them use resellers. Places like Bic Camera, Kojima Denki, Yamada Denki r Techland (that seems to be a Kansai chain) would be the places to look. You will only be able to get Bic Sim at Bic Camera, but the others will probably have IIJmio - which is the actual provider for Bic Sim.
If all else fails, there is an option mentioned in the article that Chris linked to called “Mobal” which will accept any kind of credit card - it’s more expensive though.
Good luck!


The per minute call rate for Mobal is also really high.


thank you Greg. I went into Osaka by myself and went to a Bic Camera store
that I had mapped out ahead of time near Namba. I got a data and voice plan
that seems to be perfect for me with Bic Sim. It took a few hours to set
up, but I am happy with it all now. I also got a home internet wifi router
with softbank at the same time. YOur website was useful in my research and
has been really useful for a lot of things. If you ever come to the Osaka/
Kyoto region I would love to meet you for a coffee/drink. Cheers, Gillian


Hello everyone. You’ll be pleased to know we’ve reduce our call rates.