For years, way too many years, I paid 7,000-10,000 Yen (USD $70-100) towards the monthly bill of my AU KDDI smartphone. I figured I needed it as the commute to my work was over an hour and a half but then a kind English gentleman showed me a better way.

For years he fought with the Big Japanese phone companies: AU, Docomo and Softbank trying to get a better deal arguing that years of loyalty should mean something but then he stumbled across what everyone in Japan should know about … the big phone companies don’t give a fuck. Then he discovered that a bunch of companies, like and BIC are renting phone network access and then providing coverage directly to customers.

Initially I was skeptical that a new phone company like BIC could provide the same service but BIC is one of the largest electronic stores in the country, if anyone they can handle phone service. So for my new phone provider I choose BIC Camera SIM:


BIC Sim rents the network off NTT Docomo so I use their network, never had a problem connecting and usually maintain a strong connection. I choose the 3GB plan for a monthly 1600 Yen fee (USD $16) and I’ve never looked back. I got to keep my phone number that I’ve had for years, I can SMS number to number and I get 3GB a month to burn though. SMS costs like 10yen but to be honest I’ve never even used it now that everyone has LINE, Snapchat or Facebook Messenger. Even with constant internet usage 5 days a week, 3hrs a day on the train I never get close to reaching my 3GB limit. Mind you its not like I watch NetFlix or Youtube movies all the time, I save that for home and the free Wifi. Every month I save around 5000 yen because I switched from AU to BIC. The only “catch” is you need an unlocked phone. I saved so much that it made sense to cancel my AU contract and pay the 12,000 Yen early cancellation fee. After all after just two months I saved almost that much. It’s been a year now since I cut ties with AU and joined BIC Sim and I have no regrets.

For other “How to … in Japan” guides, try these:

Big In Japan Japanese Bicycles Health Care In Japan Making friends in Japan hostess in Japan
How to become big in Japan How to cycle in Japan Getting the around the Japanese health care system Making Friends in Japan How not to be a hostess