Maps, translation tools, calls, messages, social media updates. In 2018, it goes pretty much without saying that having your own internet is essential — especially if you’re planning on being in Japan for an extended stay.
One of the trickiest aspects of getting a private Wi-Fi connection here is dealing with all the bureaucracy that comes with setting up a contract in this paperwork-loving nation. For those wanting to get connected, the majority of telecommunication contracts require proof of long-term residence, Japanese bank accounts or credit cards, and a high level of Japanese language ability to apply. Many of these things are a near impossibility for those who have only just arrived.
One company has created a solution to this issue: enter JP Smart Wi-Fi, the pocket Wi-Fi rental system designed by and for foreigners.
All you need is a debit card (it doesn’t have to be Japanese), passport and postal address anywhere in Japan. The Wi-Fi rental price is extremely competitive, starting at ¥4,980 per month for the 30GB LTE plan or ¥6,980 per month for unlimited internet wherever you go.
Why choose JP Smart Wi-Fi?
Accessible, convenient, transparent and affordable, with JP Smart Wi-Fi getting connected has gone from being an arduous paperwork-heavy process, to being easier than ordering a bowl of ramen.
But what truly makes this company such a no-brainer for both visitors and foreign residents in Japan is that the Wi-Fi rental system was created in such a way that it would be easy for non-Japanese users.
As Tung Ha, the marketing manager at JP Smart Wi-Fi explained; “It’s important because we want to take care of foreigners in Japan. Foreigners sometimes feel out of their depth or even discriminated against because of the language barriers, so we want to rectify that.”
To further simplify the process of setting up Wi-Fi, total support from starting through during and up to ending the contract is offered in English, Vietnamese, Chinese, Tagalog and Japanese.
It’s important because we want to take care of foreigners in Japan. Foreigners sometime feel out of their depth, or even discriminated against because of the language barriers, so we want to rectify that.
“It can be such a convoluted procedure to apply for Wi-Fi in Japan,” Tung Ha added. “Typically, there’s a lot of paperwork and confusing contracts that even stump Japanese people. At JP Smart Wi-Fi we made the process simple enough that you can just do it on the computer in the comfort of your own home and before you even get to Japan if you’re coming from overseas.”
If you’re planning on studying abroad
The mid to longer-term student market is one that the company have been keeping an eagle eye on while putting together their Wi-Fi packages. The price point (beginning at ¥4,980 per month) and accessibility means that renting it out for a few months is an easy and affordable alternative to signing a long-term contract.
Also, not having a Japanese credit card or even bank account is no barrier to paying your Wi-Fi rental bills since you can make all your payments at your local convenience store with the Smartpit Card pay machines. You’ll find the machines at Lawson, Mini Stop, Family Mart and behind the register at Three F, Circle K and Sunkus. The JP Smart website has a nifty guide on how to pay using the Smartpit system.
Or if you’re prone to being a little clumsy
Don’t sweat it, JP Smart Wi-Fi have an insurance system, it’s called JP Smart Care (the safety support package). For just ¥500 a month, you can rest easy knowing that if the device is lost or damaged the penalties are significantly reduced.
You can subscribe for JP Smart Care when you fill in the application for the first time. If you do lose the device you’ll pay 50 percent or the full cost and if it gets damaged you’ll pay ¥0 (normally ¥10,000).
If you’re a broke student, you can also make a little side money!
JP Smart Club has a rather lucrative referral program. For every successful reference, you will earn a ¥1,000 Amazon gift card. According to Tung, the company is “focusing quite intensively” on this to multiply its user base, so it’s definitely worth noting.
All the practical info is great, but how about the important stuff: Netflix, Hulu, gaming?
Can you do it all on one little pocket sized Wi-Fi? Yep, if you purchase the unlimited plan there’s no limit on your streaming. However, for optimal service for people who won’t be streaming movies, music and games all day everyday, about 100GB a month is recommended. And for calls back home? The Skype and Google Hangouts speeds are lightning fast.
Plus keep that Instagram content fresh no matter where you are
The company has a contract with SoftBank, one of Japan’s biggest telecommunication providers, so you’ll never have to worry about patchy service. Given that SoftBank is one of Japan’s major service providers you can trust that fierce competition means connectivity is strong and consistent nationwide.
The Wi-Fi service connecting people online and offline.
Beyond simply providing a Wi-Fi service, the team are also trying to help connect the international community here in Japan offline, too, working on generating content and hosting events where international people can connect and enjoy their time in Japan together.
The team are right now running a contest for a group of its JP Smart Club members to win tickets to the Jingu Gaien Fireworks Festival in August, where some of the JP Smart staff are also planning to join them. For more information on events, giveaways and other Japan related tips, visit the JP Smart Club community Facebook page.