Differences Between Prepaid SIM Card and Rental SIM Card
SIM Cards for Visitors from Outside of Japan
All the SIM cards for visitors from outside of Japan can be categorized in two types:
Prepaid SIM or Rental SIM.
Most of them use the same network from NTT Docomo, one of the largest mobile phone operators in Japan. Their network is also the largest, which has nearly 100 percent population coverage. This means that you can be get connected with the internet almost anywhere in Japan, except for mountain areas or the sea.
[Note] Almost all of the SIM cards for visitors from outside of Japan are available only for data communications. They cannot available for voice call.
In this blog post, I will write about differences between Prepaid SIM or Rental SIM other than the network.
Although I cannot confirm the whole as service plans offered by providers are different respectively, yet, you can summarize major differences between Prepaid SIM or Rental SIM as the followings.
Prepaid SIM Card
- Mainly sold at airports.
- Also, they are sold at large home electronics retail stores. MVNOs (Mobile Virtual Network Operator) issue the cards and retailers sell them.
- As the fixed bandwidth is shared by users, its data speed tends to be decreased when a large numbers of travelers use prepaid SIM cards simultaneously during peak seasons in Japan such as March, April, September, and December.
- There is no need to return.
- Although it may be possible to add data capacity and add period, it is not suitable for long-term use exceeding 90 days.
- It is suitable for a short stay.
- Because prepaid SIM cards can not be refunded once they are used, before ordering it, you need to make sure that your device can be compatible with a SIM card size (regular, micro, nano) and frequencies available in Japan.
Rental Data SIM Card
- You can pre-order it and pick it up at airports or accommodations you will stay.
- Data speed is more stable than that of prepaid SIM type as providers ask to add bandwidth to major carriers when needed.
- Return required.
- It is suitable for both a short and long stay.
- Customer Support is available during the rental period
- Some providers give you a refund when you couldn’t use the card
Differences between Prepaid SIM Card and Rental SIM Card
|Prepaid SIM Card||Rental SIM Card|
|Length of Stay||Short||Short to Long|
|Data Speed||Low when crowded||Stable|
Rental SIM by LightPocket
LightPocket offers rental SIM card.
We give you a refund when you find that your device is not compatible with frequencies in Japan.
We delivers SIM card to anywhere in Japan, including airports and accommodations.
If you lose your mobile phone or tablet, which uses our SIM card, we can send it back to you when your device reported to the police.