The online-only plans of the three major companies (DOCOMO, KDDI/AU, and SOFTBANK), “ahamo,” “povo,” and “linemo,” will begin accepting applications sequentially from the middle of March.
Compared to the previous plans, all of them offer a major company’s connection and 20GB of data per month at a price lower than 3000 yen. There are some common features, but if you are thinking of signing a new contract or switching, it is recommended to check the features and minor differences of each one beforehand.
So let’s take a look at them together.
Truly the cheapest
On March 1, 2021, DOCOMO announced that it will lower the monthly fee for its new online-only plan, ahamo, from 2980 yen to 2700 yen.
At first glance, it still can’t compete with “povo” and “linemo” which have a monthly fee of 2480 yen, but “ahamo”‘s 2700 yen includes the option of 5 minutes of free domestic voice calls, while “povo” and “linemo” both require an additional fee of 500 yen. If you are a frequent voice user, “ahamo” is probably the cheapest plan for you.
Counted as a family discount
The main brand offers discounts based on the number of lines subscribed by the family.
Among the three online-only plans, “ahamo” is the only plan that counts for family discount.
However, it is important to note that even if you are eligible for the family discount count, it does not lower the usage fee due to the family discount. For example, if your family members sign up for the same DOCOMO Giga-ho, Giga-lite, etc. and you sign up for “ahamo”, you will get a discount on the monthly fee per line for Giga-ho, Giga-lite, etc., but no discount for “ahamo”.
Make a plan to fit your needs
Unlike other brands, AU’s “povo” offers a variety of options on top of the basic plan.
The plan is called “Toppings” which means you can use what you want, when you want, and for how long you want.
Compared to the usual options that you should sign up for, toppings are like ketchup on fries or curry on pork cutlet, you put them on when you want them, so you can self-order and create a plan that suits you.
At this point, the only one that has been announced is the “unlimited data usage for 24 hours” for 200 yen, but let’s see what kind of “toppings” they come up with in the future.
Perfect for LINE users
For those who use the LINE application on a regular basis, “LINEMO” is most recommended.
A 30-minute voice call using LINE will consume 8-9MB of data traffic, while a 30-minute HD video call will consume about 153MB. If you make a lot of calls, your high-speed data will be consumed quickly.
If you sign up for LINEMO, your data will not be counted when you use the LINE service. Even if you don’t have WiFi, you can make unlimited video calls with your friends and family without having to worry about running out of high-speed data.
Online support only
However, “LINEMO” may not be suitable for those who are new to the Internet.
Since LINEMO is an online-only plan, there is no in-store or phone support, and you can only get support via chat.
Which one do you recommend?
if you mainly use voice calls
Among the three plans, “ahamo” is the only one that includes the service of free 5-minute calls.
The minimum charge is the highest among the three, but when you add the free minutes, it is the cheapest plan.
If you want a variety of options
The biggest feature of “povo” is the “topping off” service.
Only when you need it, only for what you need. Rather than signing up for a prepared plan as is, you can self-order a plan to suit your needs.
If you mainly use LINE
If you often use LINE to communicate with your friends and family, “LINEMO” is the best choice for you.
With LINE GIGAFREE, the data of some LINE services and functions are not counted. Therefore, all of your LINE messages, stamps and images, voice and video calls through LINE, and timeline posts are gigabyte-free and can be used as much as you want.
|DOCOMO “ahamo”||KDDI/AU “povo”||SOFTBANK “LINEMO”|
|Service launch date||March 26||March 23||March 17|
|Monthly fee (excluding tax)||2,700 yen||2,480 yen||2,480 yen|
|Speed limit after exceeding speed limit||Up to 1Mbps||Up to 1Mbps||Up to 1Mbps|
|Domestic Voice Call Rates||5 minutes free||20 yen/30 seconds||20 yen/30 seconds|
|All you can call in Japan||1,000 yen/unlimited call||500 yen / 5 minutes free
1,500 yen / unlimited
|500 yen/5 minutes free
|eSIM support||Under consideration||Planned support||○|
|Each feature||Free 5-minute voice calls||“Toppings”||LINE DATA Free|
|How to apply||Website/App||Website||Website/LINE|
|Moving from the same brand||Change of plan
|Campaign||3,000 yen worth of d-points||3,000 yen worth of au PAY balance||PayPay bonus worth 3,000 yen|
GetAround Japan is your number one travel guide, providing the latest information on visiting and living in Japan, with tips on what to eat, things to do, and places to stay.
Whether you’re planning for a trip far in the future, or already in Japan in need of some fresh ideas, our archive of posts will help you find the best way to fill your time and get the most out of your travel experience.
We provide you updates on serious policies that affect visitors and foreign residents while also keeping things light and fun with articles on quirky trends and pop culture.
How do we know how to provide visitors the information they need? Our affiliate company CDJapan Rental provides WIFI and Sim Card rentals to thousands of visitors to Japan every year. In other words, we are constantly in touch with and listening to the voices of our customers, and infuse our blog with the information they ask us for.
For inquiries, contact us here
CDJapan Rental (Neowing Corporation) 1-10-15-3F Nihonbashi Horidome Chuo, Tokyo 103-0012, Japan