Sunday, May 9, 2010

B-mobile's "best effort" seems pretty good

Elliatab, a reader with a the B-mobile USIM 300 data-only SIM card has been using the product for a few weeks now and is satisfied it's performance. He used the app over a few days traveling between Kyoto and Fukuoka, and the results so far indicate he is getting the advertised speeds. Obviously, more testing is needed, though. But, so far so good. Click the above image to enlarge. Click here for related posts.

From elliatab:
My general feeling after two weeks (I received the sim on 25 April, 3 days after order) is positive. The speed limit does not affect the experience for applications I'm using the most: Gmail, google chat, Facebook or twitter are working great and speed is not an issue (uploading pics from the Facebook app is reasonably fast). Even Google map application is working good. Of course the maps are downloading a bit slowly but if you are using Directions (with android 2.1), you are very likely to stay in the same area or to update infrequently.

Youtube is actually working, but it needs a very long buffering time before the video starts. Do not expect much on this side.

Browsing is a bit frustrating because of the speed limit, and probably because the speed is not constant. The pages appear quite fast, but it usually takes a long time to finish downloading. Nevertheless, it is still useful to get a full browsing experience (btw, skyfire beta is great) and it does the job if you're patient.

Market is working and downloading an application of 3Mo is no problem (takes about a minute).

Docomo's network coverage is really good. I am using softbank (prepaid card) and I now understand this smile on my docomo-using friends faces when I bitch about the "no signal" message when having dinner in an underground izakaya. It's actually so good that I could use it in the shinkansen from Fukuoka to Kyoto (not all the way of course, but still).

Final thoughts, for me the price is right for the service. It's half what you would pay for softbank's packet plan and it works for most of the scenarios I need. The only down-side of this b-mobile sim is the fact that it cannot register on the network to receive calls. So I still need to carry my old softbank prepaid cell and this is why I will probably not stick to this option but only activate it from time to time.


  1. Can you get one of those B-mobile USIM if you are a tourist? Or are these like the rest of regular Japanese cell plans and you're either need to be a citizen or a resident?

    As you know, the big problem when traveling to Tokyo is data. I've used free and some paid wifi spots (FON livedoor) the last time I was there to get online with my Nexus One, but given the scarcity of wifi in Japan this is hardly a solution.

  2. yes you can, and (assuming your Nexus 1 is unlocked) I think it would be a decent solution given what you are looking for.
    I am an exchange student with and (albeit after a world of hassle) I got it to work with my G1 - you pay upfront and do not need any citizen or alien registration information.
    hope that helps

  3. zmr, thanks for the input. What do you think about the physical address to which it needs to be sent? I guess he could use his hotel address, unless someone at b-mobile flags it...

  4. a hotel address would probably work fine - afaik its not like there is some citizenship/residence requirement that is being circumvented here

  5. Elliatab, also did it take any extra finagling to get the market app to work?
    on my G1 (running openeclair 2.1) it freezes at "Starting Download" - but im not sure if it is related to the U300 sim or not

  6. Thanks zmr!

    I usually stay at of those weekly mansion, so if an address is the only requirement I guess I'm set.

  7. And depending on how long you'll be staying, you might want to order ahead of time. According to the reader who provided the speed info, it took 3 days to arrive.

  8. Hi Statiq,

    I don't think there is any problem to buy one as a tourist. As mentioned below, maybe the address would be an issue (but I doubt that). Another issue is the credit card used to pay for the sim (I used a japanese credit card ).
    zmr, do you remember if there was any other payment method on the ordering website?

  9. I briefly tested the market on modaco 3.2 and now I'm using VillainRom (so it's android 2.1), the market apps are different but both worked as usual.

  10. Actually I could select exactly on which day (even at what time) I wanted to receive the SIM. So my advice would be to order it a couple of days before you arrive in japan and select a time when you know you will stay at your mansion.
    FWIW, I think you can take a shot at the b-mobile sim considering the price...

  11. There is also a C.O.D. option for payment, so you don't even need a credit card, just give cash to the courier.

    Wow. How simple. Looking at all the confusion and complicated terms for getting a data plan for an ipad, imagine just handing cash over to someone in exchange for a SIM card. So simple it must be illegal ;-p