Japan's 4G Sim Card VS 4G Pocket WiFi

In this age of social media and hyper inter-connectivity, a trip abroad without an internet connection gives many the feeling of isolation and loneliness. Such is the case for many travelers in Japan. Being different in climate, culture, and basically, almost all aspects of life, most first-time visitors tend to be shocked that real life doesn't have subtitles (you know what I mean). 


Although there are plenty of free WiFi spots in Japan like free public WiFis in major cities, airports, train stations, bus stops, seaports, hotels, cafes, and even Mcdonald's, there are still plenty of "dead spots" in the country, particularly the countryside and the mountainous regions of JapanNo internet connection does not only mean being cut off from social media life, but it is also an issue if you are unfamiliar with the country as the internet today is also needed for navigation and communication. 

Well, if you're one of those travelers and you don't want to rely on Free WiFi, then here's my suggestion, avail of the 4G Sim Card or rent a 4G Pocket WiFi. However, which is better? Read on as we compare the two...

Affordability

A 4G Sim Card with a 3GB limit and 8-day validity costs around P720 -750 compared to the 4G Pocket WiFi rental which costs P250 -270 per day which means its rental cost is around P2000 for 8 days. 


A 4G Pocket WiFi can connect 5 devices which means the P2000 / 8 days can be divided to P400 per user. However, such is not a case for solo adventurers or traveling couples. A 4G Sim Card, on the other hand, can only be used by one phone. 

Verdict: 
Solo/ Couples - 4G Sim Card
Groups w/ 3-5 members - 4G Pocket WiFi

Data Limit

The 4G Sim Card has different Data Packages. The 6-day validity sim has only a 1GB data package (P470-490). On one hand, there is also the 8-day validity sim with a 3GB data package (P720-740) and also the more expensive Unlimited Data package sim (P1520-1540) which is suitable for those staying in Japan for longer periods of time. However, keep in mind that the 1GB and 3GB data packages are as good as the GB left in it which means that if you consume it all in one day, then you'd end up with an empty shell.

The 4G Pocket WiFi offers a 7GB Data Package but has a traffic flow limitation. This means that if the traffic flow is more than 1GB within 3 days, the traffic flow will be limited to 128 kbps the next day. This might be an issue for those with 5 connections or those who consume tons of data binge watching Netflix or Youtube videos. 

Verdict: 
Basic data usage per day - TIE
Large data consumption per day - 4G Sim Card w/ Unlimited Data Package 

Usage and Concerns

  • Those staying longer than 8 days might find the 4G Pocket WiFi a better option as it provides internet connectivity for the "reserved" number of days compared to 4G Sim Cards which lasts only to the package you availed and cannot be reloaded. However, budget travelers found a way around this by purchasing X number of sim cards by the length of stay. (eg. They buy 2 sim cards with 3GB package = internet for 16 days)
  • Since a 4G Pocket WiFi is by itself an electronic device, it means they have their own accessories that you should be mindful of. Damaged or lost accessories have a penalty of Y3,000, while damaged or lost Pocket WiFi incurs a whopping penalty of Y30,000- 40,000 depending on the device provider. The 4G Sim Card does not give you this kind of worry. 
  • As mentioned a 4G Pocket WiFi is an electronic device, which means they are limited to their battery life which is around 5-6 hours. A 4G Sim Card, on the other hand, works as long as your phone works. Regardless, Power Banks can easily solve both issues. 
  • The 4G Sim Card has a major setback. For those planning to avail it, sadly it won't work for SIM locked or Network Locked phones. Aside from that, it's not compatible with some phone models of HTC, Huawei, Xiaomi, and Blackberry brands. On the other hand, 4G Pocket WiFi can connect to all kinds of smartphones. 
  • Both the 4G Sim Card and 4G Pocket WiFi can be availed in Klook.

Verdict:

The 4G Sim Card has lesser concerns with usage and worry-free use however, phone connectivity and Sim Lock restrictions would render it useless, unlike its competitor which can be used by all smartphone brands.

Winner: 4G Sim Card

Overall, both the 4G Sim Card and 4G Portable WiFi have their own strengths and weaknesses but in my opinion, the 4G Sim Card outweighs its competitor by means of affordability, data limit, and worry-free usage... Well, that is if your phone is not Sim Locked or incompatible with the said sim. 

Comments

  1. Unfortunately my phone is Sim Locked.I hate that about it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Awwww. That's sad. Better avail of the pocket WiFi.

      Delete
  2. Interesting read. I never compared 4g wifi to my 4g sim card. I'm in the U..S. and my sim card service is not so great

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The good thing about 4G Sim Card is Japan is that it has excellent service.

      Delete
  3. It's good to know 4G is an option while traveling. I always worry about my connection when I travel.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Awesome! I'd bookmark this for future trip in Japan, maybe I will need it, so thanks!

    xo,
    Anna
    ❥ https://www.annalovelife.com/

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thanks for this update! Although I didn't try this when I was in Japan (I used my boyfriend's data) it is smart to have your own pocket wifi. Japan might be modern but wifi isn't free every where.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lucky you! If you're planning to travel solo someday, this might help. =) Please do bookmark it.

      Delete
  6. Wow what a great review for this Japan 4G connections. but I think I choose 4G portable wifi would work for me because my phone is not sim locked. but 4G sim card is good also. :)

    ReplyDelete
  7. You must of gotten your Sim Card from Softbank because my sister had the same card when she came to Japan last summer. She was happy with the service.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I didn't know about either of these. I have to agree though I think the 4G sim card might be better. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome
      :) I'm happy my blog became a source of knowledge.

      Delete
  9. I bought a 4G mifi before all the SIM cards became 4G,but now all our SIM cards are 4G so I've packed my mifi.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you for the information. I got to know something new.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hai! I'm for 4G sim card too (Sakura mobile)! It's super useful and I didn't encounter any problems (surprisingly, I didn't have to Root my Android). Tethered my laptop and it didn't ran out of data. Though you have to order at least 3 days before pickup. My last trip to Tokyo though, I had to rent a portable wifi (nanay ko inutusan akong magshopping ng nakavideo call... kaloka! hahaha!). Brother! Great review, as always!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hahaha. Kunsabagay, if magvivideo call ka or magneNetflix lugi ka pag SIM lang gamit mo. =)

      Delete
  12. Useful detailed comparison for travellers. In my choice wifi device always comes in 2nd irrespective of their portability.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Useful info for travelers. Thanks for sharing

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is really helpful and benefits all the travelers. It is really convenient and useful to make calls.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I used the SIM card during my 7-day trip in Osaka, Kyoto, and Nara. It's very convinient as I didn't need to worry about returning it. Plus I got to bring the SIM back home as souvenir.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me too but now we have the 4G Pocket Wifi on long term rent. It's great but it needs to be charged regularly.

      Delete

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