When I first arrived in Japan, I brought a factory unlocked iPhone 5 with me thinking it would be easy to get a nano SIM card here. Had I taken the time to do any prior research, I would’ve realized that wasn’t the case.
I went to Softbank, hoping to get a SIM card. However, the staff refused to give me a SIM card unless I had bought a new Softbank locked phone from them, unfortunately AU had the same policy. I wasn’t about to shell out more cash for a new iPhone when I already had one in my possession so I tried Docomo next.
Things seemed to look up when they were willing to give me a SIM card. However, the catch was since the iPhone is not a Docomo device, they would count it as tethering. This meant they were going to charge me a much higher price than I was willing to pay plus additional fees. Not to mention, the Docomo store I went to didn’t have any English speaking staff on site so I had to talk to customer service through a phone and pass it back and forth to the store staff. It was pretty exhausting, but extremely frustrating when after the twenty minute conversation the guy finally decided to tell me that the store I was currently in did not have any nano SIM cards nor did many of their other locations.
So after failing with all of the normal phone service providers, I decided to do a little more research and go a cheaper route: a data-only SIM card. I had a lot of friends who had used b-mobile. Their SIM cards can be conveniently bought on their website, Amazon Japan, or Yodobashi. The only problem was that b-mobile doesn’t have nano SIM cards.
I some research and felt the chances of me successfully cutting down and using a b-mobile SIM card were high. So I went ahead and bought everything and fortunately I succeeded!
Here’s step-by-step photos and a video:
Things you will need:
- Sandpaper (bought from Daiso)
- A nano SIM cutter (bought from Amazon Japan)
- A b-mobile SIM card (bought from Amazon Japan but can also be bought at Yodobashi stores or b-mobile’s website)
- iPhone 5
What your SIM card will most likely look like if you got it from b-mobile.
Read the instructions so you don’t waste a perfectly good SIM card!
Slide in the SIM card like so (make sure the dented corner is on the right side).
Finished product. Sand it down and then stick it into your iPhone!
You must register your SIM card on their website before using it. It’s all in Japanese but Google Translate is your best friend.
Also, don’t forget to change your APN settings on your phone based on which SIM card you bought:
Of course, if you have an iPhone 4/4S, the SIM card should fine without you having to cut it down.
By the way, this is also really great for people who are also planning to visit Japan since b-mobile offers 14 day SIM cards for travelers.
If you have any questions, feel free to leave them in the comments below!