Japan cell phone plans in 2021: Best options for foreigners

The communication fee is too expensive in Japan, don’t you feel? Especially if you are a foreigner living in Japan, the contract method looks way complexed and hard to understand. And you may think perhaps you are contracting a higher plan without noticing. But don’t worry, in this article, I will share the best cell phone plan as of 2021 as foreigners in Japan.


Game-changers on mobile communication careers

Cell phone charges have been too expensive in Japan, despite its necessity of life. However, in early 2021, the mega careers introduced hyper discount mobile plans named;

  • ahamo, by NTT docomo
  • povo, by au
  • LINEMO, by SoftBank

Each plan has its fixed price of around 2,900 Yen/month and 20 GB of data. The rate is quite reasonable from the previous price provided by the careers. It used to be about 6,000 – 10,000 Yen/month.

In Japan, there’re many mobile communication careers, more than 20 including MVNO. But the three have an advantage on the quality of connection.

Another darkhorse appeared but…

There actually appeared another hyper inexpensive mega career, Rakuten. Its plan of Rakuten Unlimited IV offers quite reasonable value (from 0 yen!). But in this article, I don’t pick up the career because of the too narrow service area.

So let’s focus on the three plans. What are the plans in detail, and what are the differences?

The three plans comparison

Here’s the table of the prices and key features.

All plans offer fast connections with reasonable and easy-to-understand prices. Even if you reach data limitation, the lines are still alive with 1 Mbps. No worry about expenses and connectivity anymore. But for some reason, I especially recommend you choosing ahamo.

ahamo is the best choice for foreigners

At first, the coverage. ahamo is provided by NTT docomo, which is the flagship career in Japan and has a broad network over Japan. And the second, free international data roaming. The plan offers complimentary access among 82 countries wherever you are in a maximum extended period of 15 days a month. I suppose you are a foreigner living in Japan. So sometimes you have to return to your home country. That’s why ahamo would be the best choice.

Who to change plan?

If you have already had a contract, you should wonder you have to change the contract. If you apply to the following conditions, I recommend you do.

Frustrated by low-speed connection by an MVNO line
Using smartphones frequently, but the usage is less than 20 GB/month
Contracting previous version of MNO plans

Reference about MNO and MVNO

If you are not familiar with the term MVNO and MNO, see this column. There are three kinds of mobile communication providers in Japan.

Conclusion: the three are good, but ahamo is better

In summary, for foreigners living in Japan, the current best choice is ahamo.

The great quality provided by NTT docomo
Complimentary international data roaming

I’m happy if this article is useful for you.

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