A totally digital SIM?! Is that even possible?
That’s right, with the advent of eSIMs, getting your phone connected to a data network abroad might be easier than ever before, with the process of purchasing data and hooking into a provider’s network taking mere seconds. While Japan is known for being super high-tech in some areas (think, the precision and convenience of bullet trains, the innovation of Japanese toilets) it is also known for remaining stubbornly old fashioned. Credit card use here is still incredibly limited, as Japan remains a hard cash society.
One of the areas that many travelers and foreign residents particularly struggle with, is getting connected to free WiFi and finding a cellular provider. But could eSIMs be part of Japan’s move to become more accessible, particularly for foreign visitors and residents?
So what exactly are eSIMs? When and where will they be available, and how much will they cost on average? We’ll give you all the answers you need in considering
What is an eSIM?
eSIMS are part of a new system of manufacturing cellphones that will all users to jump network carriers quickly through contracts and purchase of data plans. In production, eligible phones are implanted with an e-chip. After purchasing a plan with a carrier, phones can be connected through the echip digitally. After purchase of data, users receive a QR Code or other comparable key code, and can access their new network by simply logging in.
Is my phone eSIM comptaible?
This one is a bit tricky. Currently, production of eSIM hardware is limited to the following: iPhones running iOS 11 or higher, Google Pixel (2 and upwards). We also found some sources that listed the Samsung Galaxy as having eSim capability, but without specific models. A a rule of thumb, it is always best to check with your manufacturer using your phone-specific model number as production varies by company.
Which countries can I use eSIM?
eSIM is now available in over 90 countries. There is currently one carrier in Japan, called iiJMio. As production costs are so low, savings are passed along to the customers!
How is the service?
Currently, eSIMs are rather limited in Japan, and only one provider, iiJMio, offers eSIM services. Users have said that connection is comparable to traditional SIMs, though the network seems to get crowded and slow during the morning and evening commute time, as well as during lunch.
How much will it cost?
Currently, the activation fee is 3,000 JPY. After that, the cost of the basic plan is 1,500 JPY per month for 6GB. For larger plans, you can get 20GB per month for 3,100 JPY、and 30GB for 5,000JPY.
Because of the initial cost, we recommend this to visitors staying more than a month, great for short work stays and study abroad!
For more information on iiJMio’s service, visit their page directly!
Note: iiJMio provides information in English, but eSIM details are only available in Japanese.