Pre-paid SIM cards would allow Android phone owners to use their devices in Japan in a convenient and simple way. Photo courtesy: NTT
We’ve all heard of pre-paid cellphones, but one Japanese company is taking cellular convenience to another level.
Co-developed by NTT Communications Corp. and U.S. retail-machine manufacturer ZoomSystems, visitors to Japan could soon be able to buy pre-paid SIM Cards at airports and sightseeing spots from vending machines.
It’s a first of its kind service and would allow a visitor with a cellphone that has a removable SIM card get instant access to Wi-Fi and cellphone coverage anywhere in Japan.
The cards offer services in English and Chinese at a price of approximately $25 (USD) (3,000 yen) to $33 (USD) 4,000 yen. The plans allow users to enjoy up to 100 megabytes of data per day for 14 days through Japanese carriers.
The vending machine requires you to register your information before logging into mobile-phone communication networks. Japan still lags behind countries like Canada when it comes to free Wi-Fi services at restaurants and cafes opting for paid services. Some companies allow visitors to rent mobile hotspot devices that help them connect, but they can be costly.
The first SIM dispenser was installed at Aqua Odaiba shopping complex in Tokyo Minato Ward on Mar. 24 and at the Kansai Airport in Osaka Prefecture on Mar. 26. More locations are under consideration, but the developers are waiting to see how this pilot project works out.
In another step to make connecting online even more convenient, travellers can register for theJapan Connected-free Wi-Fi service, which provides access to about 18,000 free Wi-Fi hotspots around Japan located in major airports, shopping centres, and restaurants.