Wireless Internet options for Japanese residents?

Visiting the website because I’m thinking about signing up with WiMAX again, but I heard about a different option from Yamada Denki, so I wonder how many options I might be missing. I’ll try to summarize briefly, but my knowledge is still spotty and unclear:

I used WiMAX with satisfaction for some years, but I moved to a place with a bad signal so I had to cancel it. Moving again, and planning to return to WiMAX for about 4,000 yen/month. Not sure if it’s a 2- or 3-year contract, but pretty sure that I can cancel within a week with a penalty around 4,000 yen (if the signal is bad again). When I did have WiMAX I used it while traveling around Kanto and it was mostly good, except in my home at the end… Current speed is a ridiculously high value, maybe 400 meg.

Yamada Denki offers a similar service around 3,000 yen/month for 2 years with a Huawei device. (I’ve had good luck with Huawei over the years.) The speed is still much faster than I need, around 180 meg. This is also a nearly unlimited data connection.

The time when I was most satisfied was actually when I had a one-device solution through eMobile (sort of the predecessor of YMobile). I was tethering all of my computers through my Huawei smartphone. The speed was only around 10 meg (3G?), but it was unlimited and adequate for my purposes, and the signal coverage was excellent wherever I went. The option was terminated after Softbank bought eMobile.

Right now I’m using Wireless-Gate for mobile data, and though it’s inexpensive and unlimited, the speed is only around 2 meg, which is getting too slow, especially with tethering. I’m planning to rely more on WiFi hotspots if I get rid of it, and one of the advantages is that there’s no termination penalty after 6 months.

Renting a Pocket Wifi Router in Japan: The Best Options | Tokyo Cheapo was the source article I started with on this website, and it didn’t seem to have as much data as I already have. The options mostly seemed worse, but maybe you have some nice data to share?

Hi Shanen, thanks for the message.
The article on TC is mostly for short term rentals, alas I don’t have up to date data on longer term options.
If you can read Japanese Kakaku.com is a good place to start here’s the wifi router rental section.

Also @ryosan might have some ideas, maybe he’ll chip in…

Hope that helps!

Alllllrighty Shanen, thanks for writing in.

Your story of eMobile (ahhhh, those were the days, right?) reminded me that our good friends at U-Mobile U-mobile(d) | U-mobile offer very cheap data at a quite high speed and tethering at no extra charge, at the time of writing. As with all of these services, I always recommend getting their entry level sim card (usually at a BIC Camera or such place) for a couple of hundred yen and then testing it out in the area of which you live (or get a mate who’s on that network to come round for a drink!)

Also worth keeping an eye on OCN mobile too. They offer data-only sims that can fit into an existing pocket wifi router you may own, or put in an old phone and tether from it. http://www.ntt.com/personal/services/mobile/one/data.html
They have a variable speed plan, so you could tailor it to your exact use as you see fit.

Also, worth mentioning plans like the family plan from BICSIM, which give you upto three SIM cards on one account, so you can share the data accordingly. e.g. if you have one in the smartphone, one in a tablet, one in a pocket wifi router, you don’t have to keep tethering and maybe save a bit of battery.


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Thanks for the tip. I went to that webpage but could not decide if they sold any service that I want to buy. I read Japanese moderately well, but I sure couldn’t find the answers I was looking for. I can put my questions thusly:

Is the minimum speed of the unlimited data service at least 50 meg? Pretty sure that is more than adequate for my purposes (and the 440 meg from WiMAX is overkill).

What is the penalty if I make the contract and find out that the signal is bad at our new home? WiMAX seems to be about 4,000 yen, which I can live with, though I also have pretty good confidence that WiMAX is going to work (based on my prior experience).

I don’t really count it against them that I failed on their website. Easy to blame that on my poor Japanese and their reasonable decision to ignore non-Japanese customers. However, you also gave the tip for BIC Camera, so I’ll try there, too.

I should look into OCN, too, though I basically hate NTT and all it’s subs.