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How to Receive SIM Cards
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SIM Card Registration

Differences Between SIM Cards and WiFi Hotspots

SIMカードとWiFiのち外
While there are several ways to connect to the Internet abroad, common means are through local SIM cards and WiFi hotspots. What are the differences?

Connection using SIM card is by replacing a SIM card used in Japan with the local SIM. Connection using WiFi hotspot is by WiFi Router that are usually available for rental at Japanese airports. You must return the WiFi Router once you are back in Japan.

In order to use the WiFi hotspot services, you must rent the equipment at the airport and it is likely that there is a deposit or insurance for the device. With SIM cards, however, if your smartphone is unlocked, you can simply dispose of the SIM card when you're done using it. It's much easier to handle than with WiFi rentals. Below are the advantages and disadvantages to using local SIM cards.

Benefits of Using a Local SIM Card

  • SIM cards are surely cheaper than rental WiFi. Especially with ANA SIM cards, it is free for the first 2 days. There will be a charge from Day 3 but daily rate can be as low as $1.80/day.
  • Using WiFi hotospots requires a WiFi Router that needs to be carried around at all times, but you do not have to carry anything extra when you use a local SIM as all it takes is to replace the SIM card on your phone.
  • You will only dispose of your SIM card after returning, but you will be obliged to return the SIM card to you, and you will be obliged to purchase extra insurance for any disabilities or loss while you are traveling.
  • Although many rented WiFi have data usage restrictions, ANA/SIM cards can be used unlimited, so there is no risk of data overuse.
  • Rented WiFi can share the Internet with multiple devices, but SIM cards and other devices can share the Internet with multiple devices by turning on personal hotspots.

Disadvantages

The only disadvantage of using a local SIM is that your mobile phone must be unlocked. Unfortunately, you cannot use your phone with a local SIM if it has not been unlocked. But not to worry, it is easy to unlock your phone. Follow the below easy steps.

User Review

A.S. from Tokyo
34 years old, male, company employee

When traveling abroad, I always rented a WiFi router at an airport, but since I knew that my smartphone was already unlocked, I decided to use a local SIM for the first time. Thanks to easy mobile connection, I enjoyed my stay in Hawaii very much. Upon arriving at Honolulu Airport, I received the ANA SIM card at ICE Currency Exchange counter and the Internet was immediately available on my phone. I stayed in Hawaii for 6 days this time, but since it was free for the first 2 days, I was able to see it for myself that the SIM actually works before extending the line for 4 days.

B.T. from Saitama
29 year old, female, and service businesses

In Hawaii for the first time, I used the SIM card of ANA. When replacing a SIM card, I did not know where the SIM card is in, but after replacing the card, I rebooted the mobile phone and heard the Apple ID. As soon as I entered the card, I connected to the T-Mobile network, so it was not as difficult as I thought, and I was comfortable.

T.U. from Yokohama
48 year old, male, and company executives

When traveling abroad with family members, one WiFi router was always shared among all families. This time, everybody in the family unlocked their phones, and they received their ANA SIM cards at the airport for five family members, so all five people could be connected to the network without problems. With SIM cards, five families can use the Internet on their mobile phones, so it was very convenient and safe to be able to immediately contact them even when they are away from each other. WiFi routers were unable to do this because they had to be nearby the router at all times to use the net.

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