Just out of curiosity, if you try to use an au smartphone without an IC card, are any of the functions locked down, like Skype, WiFi Internet, multimedia, etc?
Sharp mobile devices database & tips for Sharp smartphones: http://sharp.cheeseus.org
I just know that on newer dumbphones it won't let you access the music player without the card, but the main thing I'm wondering about is internet/Skype. I'm going in October and used IS04s are running at just a bit above 10k yen. At that price I'd get one as a Skype phone for someone.
Why not just get a T-01C? They don't go for much more than the IS04 (18k for the T-01C, 13k for the IS04 last time I checked, should be less by the time you go) and it'll work as a normal smartphone in both Japan and China.
If you plan on getting a MiFi like you did last time, and you're flying into Narita, know that 'Air's' has a great combo deal. 1100 (or was it 1050?) yen per day, including (up to) 2 free rental docomo SIM cards. All you need to pay for is airtime. Deduct 50 yen for every day if you rent for 14+ days.
Only downside I can see is that the docomo sim cards don't have data/i-mode activated so you can't download things like i-appli (no osaifu-keitai). But, with a smartphone, just connect your phone to the MiFi and download the apps over WiFi (don't think you can download i-appli over WiFi on 'normal' keitais?)
iPhone 5 [64GB|Black] | HTC One X LTE | NTT docomo N-06C
Actually, I was going to get a N-06C for myself (I want one I can soft-unlock). The IS04 was for a different reason that doesn't sound very practical now that I think about it.
But thanks for the Air's deal. That sounds better than what Telecom Square wanted last time, that's for sure. (and yeah, Narita arrival- it's impossible to book seats on the Haneda flight with frequent flyer miles for that particular holiday).
Only reason I had to fly into Narita was that I had to connect to an SFO-bound flight on one leg. ANA does have a HND-SFO route, but it inexplicably cost a quarter more (not $0.25, 25%) than the NRT option.
Maybe it was something to do with the fact that I was traveling the midst of travel season? Dunno how it is now.
Narita. Argh. Haneda is so much more convenient...
Keep in mind that Air's doesn't have a return desk at the departures floor so you'll have to go down a few floors back to the arrivals area to return the equipment (same place where you rent the equipment). Their counter is right next to SoftBank's
One more question about Air's due to a last-minute change.
Family issue means I'm spending half of October holiday in Canada. On the way back I'm still arriving in Narita but leaving from Haneda a couple days later. Does Air's have a counter in Haneda or am I going to have to go back to Narita to return it? (Since Haneda-Shanghai on JAL is a 9:30 departure I'm going to have to return it all a day early if they've got no counter at Haneda)
This is their website: http://www.air-s.biz/
...and it indicates that their only location is at Narita.
Traveling on a 3000 yen bus ride (6000 since it'll have to be return) for who-knows-how-many-hours (or the equivalent on the N'EX) just to return a bunch of mobile WiFi equipment? Not sure if it's worth it.
See what companies operate at both Haneda and Narita (SoftBank perhaps?) and book there. Sure you might have to pay a bit more but wasting one day in Japan isn't really worth it imo, unless you really like the food at Narita Airport or something
I just bought an IS11CA (au-kddi Casio G-'One) from Japan yahoo auctions for 10,000 (so-called "white-rom). I intended to use it for bluetooth music playing and as a waterproof, rugged GPS tracker. I took it to the local au shop, and they gracefully updated the OS using their shop IC card. Everything seemed to be working fine till I got home and went through a re-boot or two.
The date re-set to 1980! Multiple applications wouldn't work. Neither would google play.
I tried to change the date manually, but I was locked out. The option to manually set the date and time was disabled.
So, I went back to the au shop, and their response was that nothing could be done. I pressed them and explained that this might be a new problem, but if it wasn't resolvable, the problem was only going to get bigger. All us android afficianados would be telling friends not to use au (with android) because after contracts end, the phones become bricks. I asked them to please check again.
They called and did get an acceptable answer. The phone has to be put into international mode for the date and time to be manually set.
On android 3.3:
Settings -- Mobile networks -- Roaming Settings -- Area Settings. They said to use Abroad (GSM), though maybe one of the other non-Japan choices would work.
(I'll edit this post later to include the Japanese menu items to better enable search. I imagine many people are going to have this same problem.)
Now that that is done, there doesn't seem to be any problem -- other than the phone saying there is no IC card every time I shutdown and restart. I do wonder if having an inactive IC card would remove that warning, but it is not a big deal.
Last edited by shonangreg; 08-19-2012 at 06:26 AM. Reason: added Japanese translation intent
On a related note, I ended up getting an ISW11M (yes, I know it's not a keitai) for myself because the SH-13C was getting way too slow (now I know why its white-ROM price dropped so quickly). First off, you're mostly correct. Second off, having an inactive card removes the "no-IC" warning, as does having an active card from another provider (the reason I got an ISW11M was that it could be soft-unlocked and was affordable, white-ROM-wise; I paid about 9500 yen for mine).