Monday, August 27, 2018

Mobal Japan Unlimited SIM Card review

I am shocked that I have yet to write up my review on this. Five months since coming back from Japan and it suddenly occurred to me that I haven't shared my thoughts and feedback on the SIM card I used while in Japan for two months.

The common perception about SIM cards in Japan is that it's complicated to apply for. There is some truth to that as a lot of paperwork is needed to set up a number. Most of the time, if you're travelling there on holiday either solo or as a group, the mobile wifi router is the way to go. Most offer 5GB daily with connectivity for five devices and if shared with others, the cost works out to be more reasonable.
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However if you're going to Japan for more than a short trip and on your own, renting a mobile wifi router can be expensive. I checked my usual supplier Travel Recommends and to rent their device for two months worked up to be about RM1,000. No way in hell can I afford that. Fortunately, I came across Mobal and got myself my own Japanese mobile number. like a local liao. Hahahaha.

What appealed to me about Mobal was the no attachment, no binding long term contract that most telcos or SIM card providers have. I can use the card from a minimum of 15 days and extend to however long I need it. I only needed it for two months and was charged 6,000 yen for a 30-day plan of voice, text and 7GB data plan per month. Purchasing the SIM card (inclusive of the card, an adapter card pack, help services and delivery) cost 3,000yen so in total for two months, Mobal costed me 15,000yen (about RM550 approximately).
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Besides giving me to security of having my own number to call and text with, shipping to my house in Malaysia was prompt and fuss-free. After ordering it, I received it two weeks later and could set it up and activate it in advance for my trip with little issue. I just needed to select the start and end dates, send over my passport details for Softbank's records (a requirement in Japan) and credit or debit card to charge on a monthly basis. The account would activated and deactivated itself based on the dates I set. Should I need to continue using it after two months, I only had to adjust the period on my Mobal account.

Upon landing in Japan, I simply swapped out my Malaysian SIM card for the Mobal card at Haneda airport and I was good to go. As Mobal is a partner of Softbank, I had no issue getting data connection in the main cities of Hokkaido, Tokyo, Okinawa and Nagoya. The only spot I couldn't get connection was at the horse ranch in Hidaka.

Granted 7GB a month was little for me considering that my monthly consumption in Malaysia goes over 20GB a month. I know I know, I am spoilt that way by our telcos. But thankfully wifi spots are plentiful in Japan now compared to five years ago so I limited my data usage to looking for directions and posting on social media.

To Sum Up Mobal 
- online purchase and worldwide shipping
- no need for a residence visa and lots of other documents to activate
- partered with Softbank, a leading telco in Japan
- internet data of up to 7GB of 4G LTE, drops to 128 kbps if you exceed the monthly amount of 7GB
- no limits nor charges on incoming calls and texts
- affordable call and text rates to other networks
- English Language Customer Support (yay for a non-Japanese speaker like me, never had to use it though)
- Activate for 15 or 30 days, or choose ongoing service-
- SIM card is nano-sized, (comes with a free adapter for other sizes)
- Accept Debit card payment
- your own Japanese phone number

So for anyone looking for connectivity in Japan without the long-term contract issue, Mobal's plan might be something to consider. They have different plans too for students and teachers. Should I ever embark on another long journey across Japan, Mobal would be the plan I look to first. For information on Mobal, check out

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