Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Comparison of all Japanese MVNOs

THIS TABLE IS HORRIBLY OUT OF DATE and honestly, the landscape changes too much to keep up with it. It's a good overview of the general pricing and the differences between different MVNOs.

You don't need to read very much Japanese to understand the original, up-to-date Japanese version.




MAR Matsushita has compiled a comparison of just about every Mobile Virtual Network Operator data SIM that uses Docomo's 3G (FOMA) and LTE (Xi) networks. I recently added the English version, which is abbreviated below. The most up-to-date version will likely be this google docs spreadsheet in Japanese.

The data are organized by price. For less than ¥1,000 per month, you'll get the low-speed, no streaming data SIMs that are good only for short messaging and light maps usage. Many of these have a coupon option that lets you add several hundred megabytes of usually unrestricted data (e.g., JCI's turbo charge).

Spending over ¥1,000 per month will get you about 1GB of data, though it will typically be relatively high-latency and will not perform as well as ¥6,000 Docomo data plan. Multiple gigabytes can be had for over &yen2,500.

See the end of the post for a description of the types of restrictions (i.e., A, B, C, etc.) and the column explanations.

Buying Considerations


Price per megabyte is not the only consideration. The least expensive plans (in terms of unit cost) have 2-year contract requirements often with strict early termination fees. Each of these MVNOs pays to Docomo a similar wholesale cost, and they all approach reselling that bandwidth differently. Some may more aggressively shape traffic than others. Newer MVNOs are perhaps more likely to be less aggressive at first while they are building a customer base. Absolutely none of these MVNOs guarantee  speeds or disclose exactly how they limit bandwidth. Company A may have a reputation for providing consistently low latency and high speeds, but could change that at any time, with no warning.

Unit Price Differences


The average price for 100 MB is about ¥250. The absolute minimum is ¥56 from Biglobe for 7GB of LTE data, and the most is for the b-mobile FAIR chameleon SIM at ¥880. The difference in price between the extremes reflects two things:
  1. Prepaid versus postpaid with a minimum contract requirement and 
  2. More importantly, the amount of traffic shaping done by the MVNO. 
The JCI "Fair" products are straight pipes to Docomo with public, global IP address. Having extensive experience with these, I can attest to there being no performance difference between a Docomo plan and a Fair SIM.

Somewhere in the middle of this is probably where most of you would be most comfortable.

"Unlimited"


Some of these plans are advertised as unlimited. None are. The low-speed plans with less 400 kbps have effectively no data quota. Plans that have full 3G or LTE speeds that don't have a stated monthly quota have 3-day limits, exceeding of which will result in speed restrictions that are typically in the ~ 100 kbps range. Plans that are advertised as unlimited by have these quota are denoted by a (*).

Less than ¥1,000 per month


Product
Company
Billing
Min time
Contract fee
Min monthly cost
ETF
Net type
Speed (up / down)
Coupon
Rest.
Micro SIM
Monthly MB
Price / 100MB
Exceed limit
IPv4
IPv6
JCI
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥0
¥0
LTE
25 m / 75 m
¥37.8
B
yes
0
¥370
stop
private
no
JCI
postpaid
90 days
¥34,000
¥400
¥0
LTE
25 m / 75 m
B
no
500
¥80
stop
private
no ?
DTI
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥490
¥0
3G
100 k / 100 k
unk
yes
unlimited
???
yes
Asahi Net
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥785
¥10,500
LTE
128 k / 128 k
yes
unlimited
???
???
BB.excite
postpaid
1 month
¥4,410
¥787
???
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥525
A
yes
unlimited
private
yes
IIJmio
postpaid
1 months
¥3,150
¥945
¥0
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥525
A
yes
unlimited
private
yes
Toppa!
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥970
¥970
3G
128 k / 128 k
B
no
unlimited
private
no
hi-ho
postpaid
1 year
¥3,150
¥980
¥5,250
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥472.5
A
yes
unlimited
private
no
JCI
postpaid
1 year
¥3,150
¥980
¥10,500
LTE
150 k / 150 k
¥525
C
yes
unlimited
private
no
b-mobile 980 (yodobashi / amazon)
JCI
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥980
¥0
LTE
150 k / 150 k
¥525
C
yes
unlimited
private
no
JCI
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥980
¥0
LTE
150 k / 150 k
¥525
C
no
unlimited
private
no
Fusion
postpaid
1 month
¥4,200
¥980
¥0
LTE
25 M / 75 M
???
yes
200
¥490
100 k
private
no

¥1,001 to ¥2,000 per month


Product
Company
Billing
Min time
Contract fee
Min monthly cost
ETF
Net type
Speed (up / down)
Coupon
Rest.
Micro SIM
Monthly MB
Price / 100MB
Exceed limit
IPv4
IPv6
Asahi Net
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥1,950
¥10,500
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
L
yes
1,024
¥190
???
???
IIJmio
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥1,974
¥0
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥525
H
yes
1,024
¥193
128 kbps
private
yes
BIGLOBE
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥1,980
¥9,975
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
D
no (¥3,150)
1,024
¥193
128 kbps
???
no
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥1,980
N/A
LTE
25 M / 75 M 3G
B
yes
500
¥396
stop
private
no
JCI
postpaid
1 year
¥0
¥1,980
¥10,500
LTE
25 M / 75 M
¥525
B or C?
yes
1,024
¥193
150 kbps
private
no
JCI
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥1,980
¥0
LTE
25 M / 75 M
¥525
B
yes
1,024
¥193
150 kbps
private
no

¥2,001 to ¥2,500 per month


Product
Company
Billing
Min time
Contract fee
Min monthly cost
ETF
Net type
Speed (up / down)
Coupon
Rest.
Micro SIM
Monthly MB
Price / 100MB
Exceed limit
IPv4
IPv6
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥1,450
¥2,087
N/A
LTE
25 M / 75 M
B
yes
250
¥835
stop
private
no
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥3,600
¥2,200
N/A
LTE
25 M / 75 M
C
yes
250
¥880
stop
private
no
JCI
postpaid
3 months
¥3,150
¥2,270
¥5,250
3G
150 k / 150 k
¥525
C
yes
unlimited
private
no
Panasonic
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥2,340
up to ¥13,440
LTE
5.7 M / 14 M
???
yes (¥3,275
3,072
¥76
512 kbps
???
no?
BB.excite
postpaid
1 month
¥4,410
¥2,415
???
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥525
A
yes
500
¥483
128 kbps
private
yes
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥0
¥2,416
N/A
LTE
300 k / 300 k
¥525
C
yes
unlimited
public
no
JCI
prepaid
6 months
¥0
¥2,460
N/A
LTE
25 M / 75 M
B
yes
1,024
¥240
150 kbps
private
no
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥3,320
¥2,480
N/A
LTE
300 k / 300 kbps
C
yes
unlimited
private
no
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥0
¥2,980
N/A
LTE
300 k / 300 k
¥525
C
yes
unlimited
private
no

¥2,501 to ¥3,000 per month


Product
Company
Billing
Min time
Contract fee
Min monthly cost
ETF
Net type
Speed (up / down)
Coupon
Rest.
Micro SIM
Monthly MB
Price / 100MB
Exceed limit
IPv4
IPv6
TikiTiki
postpaid
2 years
¥0
¥2,580
up to ¥16,000
3G
300 k / 300 k
C
yes
unlimited
???
no
OCN
postpaid
2 years
¥2,625
¥2,670
¥9,975
3G
5.7 M / 7.2 M
E
yes
1,830 *
¥146
???
no
Mobile Renaissance
prepaid
1 month
¥0
¥2,680
N/A
3G
5.7 M / 14 M
???
no
unlimited
???
no
Asahi Net
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥2,790
¥10,500
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
M
yes
2,048
¥136
???
???
BB.excite
postpaid
1 month
¥4,410
¥2,835
???
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥525
A
yes
1,024
¥277
128 kbps
private
yes
OCN
postpaid
2 years
¥2,625
¥2,880
¥9,975
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
E
yes
2,048
¥141
100 kbps
???
no
IIJmio
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥2,940
¥0
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥525
A
yes
1,024
¥287
128 kbps
private
yes
JCI
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥2,970
¥0
LTE
25 M / 75 M
B
yes
2,048
¥145
stop
private
no ?
BIGLOBE
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥2,980
¥9,975
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
D
yes (¥3,150)
2,048
¥146
128 kbps
???
no
So-net
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥2,980
¥9,975
3G
5.7 M / 14 M
E
no (?)
1,830 *
¥163
???
???
no
TikiTiki
postpaid
6 months
¥3,570
¥2,980
¥8,000
3G
300 k / 300 k
C
yes
unlimited
???
no
TikiTiki
postpaid
2 years
¥0
¥2,980
up to ¥16,000
3G
5.7 M / 7.2 M
E
yes
1,830 *
¥163
???
???
no
JCI
postpaid
1 year
¥3,150
¥2,980
¥10,500
LTE
400 k / 400 k
¥525
C
yes
unlimited
private
no
JCI
postpaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥2,980
¥0
LTE
25 M / 75 M
¥525
B
yes
2,048
¥146
150 kbps
private
no
Mobile Renaissance
prepaid
1 month
¥0
¥2,980
N/A
3G
5.7 M / 14 M
???
no
unlimited
???
no
Fusion
postpaid
1 month
¥4,200
¥2,980
¥0
LTE
25 M / 75 M
???
yes
1,920 *
100 kbps
private
no ?

¥3,001 to ¥3,500 per month


Product
Company
Billing
Min time
Contract fee
Min monthly cost
ETF
Net type
Speed (up / down)
Coupon
Rest.
Micro SIM
Monthly MB
Price / 100MB
Exceed limit
IPv4
IPv6
plala
postpaid
2 years
¥3,990
¥3,055
¥15,750
3G
??? / 1.5 M
???
no (?)
unlimited
???
no
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥380
¥3,100
N/A
LTE
25 M / 75 M
B
yes
1,024
¥303
stop
private
no
JCI
postpaid
3 months
¥3,150
¥3,270
¥5,250
3G
5.7 M / 14 M
¥525
C
yes
1,024
¥193
150 kbps
private
no
TikiTiki
postpaid
6 months
¥3,570
¥3,380
¥8,000
3G
5.7 M / 7.2 M
E
yes
1,830 *
¥185
???
???
no
Mobile Renaissance
prepaid
1 month
¥0
¥3,480
N/A
3G
5.7 M / 14 M
???
no
unlimited
???
no

¥3,501 to ¥4,000 per month


Product
Company
Billing
Min time
Contract fee
Min monthly cost
ETF
Net type
Speed (up / down)
Coupon
Rest.
Micro SIM
Monthly MB
Price / 100MB
Exceed limit
IPv4
IPv6
DTI
postpaid
2 years
¥0
¥3,295
up to ¥26,565
3G
5.7 M / 7.2 M
???
no (?)
unlimited
???
no
hi-ho
postpaid
1 year
¥3,150
¥3,580
¥5,250
LTE
128 k / 128 k
¥472.5
A
yes
1,024
¥350
128 kbps
private
no
Asahi Net
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥3,790
¥10,500
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
N
yes
3,072
¥123
???
???
TikiTiki
postpaid
2 years
¥3,570
¥3,880
up to ¥20,000
LTE
25 M / 75 M
F
yes
2440 *
¥159
???
???
no ?
@nifty
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥3,938
up to ¥33,495
LTE
25 M / 75 M
K
no (?)
5,120
¥77
300 kbps
???
???
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥3,150
¥3,960
N/A
3G
300 k / 300 k
C
no
unlimited
public
no
Mobile Renaissance
prepaid
1 month
¥0
¥3,980
N/A
3G
5.7 M / 14 M
???
no
unlimited
???
no
Wireless Gate
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥3,980
up to ¥38,000
LTE
25 M / 75 M
J
no
3,072
¥130
128 kbps
???
???
Panasonic
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥3,980
up to ¥15,080
LTE
25 M / 75 M
???
yes (¥3,275
3,072
¥130
128 kbps
???
no ?
BIGLOBE
postpaid
3 mo
¥3,150
¥3,980
¥9,975
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
I
yes (¥3,150)
7,168
¥56
128 kbps
???
no
Inter Communications
postpaid
1 year
¥4,725
¥3,990
up to ¥46,880
3G
??? / 7.2 M
B
no (?)
3,660 *
¥109
???
???
no

Greater than ¥4,001 per month


Product
Company
Billing
Min time
Contract fee
Min monthly cost
ETF
Net type
Speed (up / down)
Coupon
Rest.
Micro SIM
Monthly MB
Price / 100MB
Exceed limit
IPv4
IPv6
JCI
postpaid
3 months
¥3,150
¥4,270
¥5,250
3G
5.7 M / 14 M
¥525
C
yes
7,168
¥146
150 kbps
private
no
TikiTiki
postpaid
6 months
¥3,570
¥4,280
¥10,000
LTE
25 M / 75 M
F
yes
2440 *
¥175
???
???
no ?
Inter Communications
postpaid
3 months
¥4,725
¥4,725
up to ¥14,175
3G
??? / 7.2 M
B
no (?)
3,660 *
¥129
???
no
BIGLOBE
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥4,980
¥9,975
LTE
37.5 M / 100 M
G
yes (¥3,150)
7,168
¥69
128 kbps
???
no
JCI
postpaid
1 year
¥3,150
¥4,980
¥10,500
LTE
carrier speed
¥525
C
yes
unlimited
private
no
JCI
prepaid
1 month
¥400
¥5,400
N/A
LTE
25 M / 75 M
C
yes
5,120
¥105
stop
private
no
Panasonic
postpaid
2 years
¥3,150
¥6,780
up to ¥17,880
3G
25 M / 75 M
C
yes
2,048
¥95
128 kbps
???
no

* These plans are advertised as "unlimited" but each has a 3-day limit. The data amounts in the table were obtained by multiplying each 3-day limit by 10 to obtain the potential monthly maximum.

Data Restrictions


(3 million packets = 366 MegaBytes, but beware that some of these companies report as using 1000 bytes per KB, instead of 1024...)

A: 3 million packets/3day; no restrictions (with coupon)
B: 3 million packets / 3 days
C: 3 million packets / 3 days or 10 million / month
D: 360 MB / 3 days
E: 1.5 million packets / 3 days
F: 2 million packets / 3 days
G: 1 GB / 72 hours
H: 1.2 million packet / 3 days; no restrictions (with coupon)
I: 360 MB / 3 days: usage restriced to 2:00am-8:00pm
J: 200 MB/3 days: 2 day 300 kbps; 3 GB / month: 128 kbps
K: 5 GB / month: 300 kbps
L: 100 MB / 72 hours: 100 kbps until the next day
M: 200 MB / 72 hours: 100 kbps until next day
N: 300 MB / 72 hours: 100 kbps until next day

Column Explanations


  • Company: MVNO
  • Billing: prepaid or postpaid
  • Min time: minimum contract or prepaid interval
  • Contract fee: initial one-time payment at start of contract
  • Min monthly cost: minimum monthly cost of product including any ISP fees that may be tacked on
  • ETF: Early termination fee
  • Net type: Network type (LTE or 3G)
  • Speed: uplink and downlink speeds in Megabits or kilobits per second
  • Coupon: if "turbo charge-like coupons are available
  • Rest.: data restrictions
  • Micro Sim: whether one is available. If a price is listed, this indicates that a normal size SIM must first be purchased, then replaced, such that you pay for two SIMs.
  • Monthly MB: Amount of data in MegaBytes for the non-unlimited plans.
  • Price/100MB: Price, after subtracting any voice service fees for 100 MB of data in the non-unlimited plans.
  • Exceed limit: restrictions that are placed if the limits are exceed.
  • IPv4: indicates if IP address is public or private
  • IPv6: indicates if IPv6 is available.

11 comments:

  1. That's some bad ass table-fu. Nice work!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey thanks as always!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Thanks very useful

    ReplyDelete
  4. Hey there! Thank you very much for this listing. Incredible how many options there are. I wonder if the variety of mobile contracts in Germany is as confusing for outsiders :P

    Anyway, I would like to ask you guys something. I am going to Tokyo for 6 months for an internship and would like to have a fully functional mobile phone there. Since my current HTC Legend is kinda out of date and begins to annoy me I am thinking about buying a new phone in Japan. I was thinking about the Google Nexus 4.

    My question now is, if I could get this mobile phone in combination with one of those 1-3 month contracts and if not if there is another option. I will have a postal adress and a resident card if that is of any help.
    I was thinking about getting the b-mobile smart SIM 1980.

    Additionally, could I use the Nexus 4 in Europe as my normal mobile phone? In one forum I found a description to make that work, but will it work with all Nexus 4 phones, regardless where I bought it from?

    I hope you guys can help me! Thanks in advance.

    Regards,
    Fabian

    ReplyDelete
  5. Sorry, no, that's not really possible or realistic.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Too bad.... But since the Nexus 4 is also sold in Japan why wouldn't it work?
    The easiest way would be to get a prepaid mobile phone + SIM card from softbank then, I guess....


    Thanks Eido!

    ReplyDelete
  7. The Nexus 4 is not sold in Japan as far as we know.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I will have a postal adress .DS18B20

    ReplyDelete
  9. Thanks in advance. ICL7107

    ReplyDelete
  10. This table it extremely out of date now, the OCN entry-d plan and IIJmio minimum start plan both give a reasonable amount of high speed date for less than 1000yen:
    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0AviF0Npt04-UdGN5X0prUUM3d3lJNEZ1SnVMdkVMbXc#gid=0

    ReplyDelete
  11. Joshua KurniawanJuly 23, 2013 at 2:40 AM

    Hey there, thanks for the effort and explanation. I would like to ask where can I get these MVNO's in Japan, such as Asahi-net or Serversman? I know that B-mobile can be bought in stores like BIC Camera, but what about the others? I am going to Japan for 4 years soon. Thanks, nice work btw :D

    ReplyDelete