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Trustpilot

How to know if your cell phone works in Japan

Does your cell phone works in Japan? Learn the basic concepts of connectivity, such as compatibility, frequencies, networks, and more.

Carolina S.

July 10, 2023

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Heading to the Land of the Rising Sun? Unsure about your cellphone’s compatibility? Don’t worry. Today we will address all your concerns and guide you on connecting to the internet in Japan. Opt for the Holafly virtual SIM card for Japan or the Holafly Japan eSIM with unlimited data for this destination.

But before we start, grasp fundamental connectivity terms like compatibility, frequencies, networks, and more.

esim-japan-holafly
Learn how to keep getting online in Japan with eSIM card and enjoy your data.

Compatibility? Frequencies? Networks? A few remarks

Tokyo, Japan. Source: Unsplash

Compatibility

A smartphone can operate with a particular cellular provider in almost any country. For example, if you take an iPhone X to Japan, it may work with some cellular providers in the country, but not with others.

Frequencies

Through these, a cellular provider of any specific country sets up an internet connection with a smartphone (with it, you can chat, and upload photos to your social networks). Using the iPhone X as an example, it will connect to Japanese cellular providers via compatible frequencies.

Networks

They consist of a group of frequencies. Today, there are several types of networks: 2G, 3G, 4G, and 5G. For each network, there are different frequencies with which a cell phone works in Japan with a domestic cellular provider, for example, through 2G, 3G, 4G, and/or 5G frequencies.

Can I check online if my cell phone is compatible?

On kimovil.com you can find out if your cell phone works in Japan with operators such as Softbank, and NTT, among others.

Here’s a simple guide to using this online tool: Enter your cellphone info in the search bar. Then click on the “Search” button.

After clicking Search, you will see the compatibility network; in this case, we will use as an example an iPhone 14 with the Japanese carrier Softbank. There you’ll see the frequencies compatible with this cell phone.

  • 2G: No compatible frequencies.
  • 3G: 900 MHz, 2100 MHz
  • 4G: 2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz, TDD 3500 MHz.
  • 5G: n3 1800 MHz, n28b 700 MHz, n77 3700 MHz.
kimovil japan
Kimovil. Smartphone operability in Japan

There are, according to the website, eleven frequencies compatible with the cellphone selected for Softbank, two in the 3G network, six in the 4G network, and three in 5G.

We find that, for the example, there’s no compatible frequency for the 2G network, while there are compatible frequencies for 3G, 4G, and 5G.

What frequencies is my cellphone compatible with?

With numerous smartphones available, here’s a table showcasing frequencies used by major cellular providers in Japan.

SoftbankNTT
2G3G4G5G
Samsung Galaxy S20X900 MHz 2100 MHz.2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz.No
Samsung Galaxy S22X900 MHz, 2100 MHz.2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz.1800 MHz, 700 MHz, 3700 MHz.
Huawei P40 ProX900 MHz, 2100 MHz.2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 900 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz.1800 MHz, 700 MHz, 3700 MHz.
Samsung Galaxy Z Flip4X900 MHz 2100 MHzBand8-900 MHz Band3-1800 MHzBand1-2100 MHz1800 MHz, 700 MHz, 3700 MHz.
Xiaomi 12T ProX900 MHz 2100 MHzBand8-900 MHz Band3-1800 MHz Band1-2100 MHz Band41-2500 MHz, 900 MHz1800 MHz, 700 MHz, 3700 MHz.
Huawei Mate 40 ProX900 MHz 2100 MHzBand8-900 MHz Band3-1800 MHz Band1-2100 MHz Band41-2500 MHz800 MHz 2100 MHz
Xiaomi Redmi Note 11X900 MHz 2100 MHzBand8-900 MHz Band3-1800 MHz Band1-2100 MHz Band41-2500 MHz (Green check)2100 MHz
Table 1. Frequencies of main providers in Japan. Source: Kimovil.com.

For both Softbank and NTT, there is no compatibility on the 2G network. Regarding the 3G network, Softbank works with 900 MHz and 2100 MHz frequencies, while NTT works only with 2100 MHz and 800 MHz.

For 4G, Softbank works with Band1-2100 MHz, Band3-1800 MHz, Band8-900 MHz, and Band41-2500 MHz frequencies. NTT works with the same frequencies.

Supported frequencies of Au and B-mobile in Japan

Cell phoneFrequencies
auB-mobile
2G3G4G5G
Sony Xperia 10 IVXX2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz.n28a 700 MHz, n77 3700 MHz, n78 3500 MHz
Oppo Find X5XX  2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 800 MHz, 850 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz.n18 850 MHz, n28a 700 MHz, n78 3500 MHz, n77 3700
Motorola Razr 5GCDMA BC0 800 MHzX1800 MHz, 800 MHz, 850 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz, TDD 3500.n28a 700 MHz, n78 3500 MHz, n77 3700
Google Pixel 5CDMA BC0 800 MHzX2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 800 MHz, 850 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz, TDD 3500.n28a 700 MHz, n78 3500 MHz, n77 3700
iPhone 13XX2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 800 MHz, 850 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz, TDD 3500.n28a 700 MHz, n78 3500 MHz, n77 3700
iPhone 12 ProCDMA BC0 800 MHzX2100 MHz, 1800 MHz, 800 MHz, 850 MHz, 700 MHz, TDD 2500 MHz, TDD 3500.n28a 700 MHz, n78 3500 MHz, n77 3700
Table 2. Frequencies of main providers in Japan
Source: Kimovil.com.

For au and B-mobile, only the Motorola Razr and the Google Pixel have compatible frequencies for 2G. For 3G, no frequencies are available.

For 4G, au works with six frequencies, and for 5G, both carriers work with three frequencies.

If you’re a heavy social media user or just want to keep in touch with your family and friends while you’re in Japan, I recommend you check on the previously mentioned website if your phone works in Japan or not.

What if my cellphone doesn’t work in Japan?

Don’t worry! There’s an answer to that:

Holafly eSIM or virtual data SIM cards

eSIM for Japan with unlimited data
eSIM for Japan with unlimited data. Source: Holafly.

Holafly’s eSIM or virtual SIM cards are small embedded chips that offer unlimited data throughout Japan. If your cell phone doesn’t work in Japan, get your eSIM from the Holafly website, where you can purchase online.

This is perhaps the best alternative to connecting to the internet and sharing data via a hotspot you’ll find on the market. To use the service, you only need to have a compatible cellphone with this technology. We recommend that you check if your smartphone is compatible with eSIM on the store’s website.

Moreover, since the eSIM is an integrated circuit, you don’t need to install it physically; you only need to activate the code that will be emailed to you. For more information on the rates and features of this product, visit Holafly’s online store.

If you have heard terms such as roaming, Pocket WiFi (MiFi or Portable WiFi), or other SIM cards, we can tell you that Holafly offers a seamless alternative with all the benefits of making your cell phone work in Japan.

Another top-rated Holafly package is the eSIM to travel southeast Asia, with which you can be connected to several destinations if your adventure takes you beyond Japan!