Switching from docomo to Y!mobile – Using iPhone SE with Y!mobile

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After 10 years, I’ve terminated my contract with docomo

I had no choice.
I needed to cut back on my fixed costs, fast.

 

I used docomo for 10 years

Actually, more than that because I changed service providers a couple times in the past.
docomo is considered the best in Japan (like Verizon in the US) and I can back that from my experiences with au and SoftBank.

I wrote in a different post that I currently use a Hong Kong model iPhone SE and I was able to use the personal hot spot function on the docomo network without any issues.

I knew about the MVNOs that were coming out with cheap monthly data plans.
But I hadn’t been able to take the time and energy to actually consider switching. Not until now!

 

 

Service providers that I considered

Any one of them will be cheaper than docomo

There really are a lot of them MVNOs out there now.
In terms of cost, any one would give you instant savings compared to docomo.

What I needed was consistent data speed and a simple talk plan.

I looked around and narrowed the search to the next three services:

  1. mineo
  2. NifMo
  3. Y!mobile

 

1. mineo

mineo

I’ve been seeing some mineo commercials on TV recently.
These guys use the au network and the reviews say that they offer stable data speeds.

Unfortunately, my Hong Kong iPhone SE can’t pick up CDMA waves. 
That’s not good when using mineo (or any other service that uses the au network) so once I became aware of that, I had to move on.

If it hadn’t been so, mineo would have been a strong candidate with its reliable network and low cost.

 

2. NifMo
データSIMのみ(3GB )

NfiMo is a service that is run by Nifty, the internet provider. 

These guys use the docomo network and are also known to provide stable performance.

Application is done mainly through the web but you can also apply at some Yodobashi Camera stores.
That’s where I applied for mine in the past.
I was using NifMo for a while and though the data speeds were slower than that of docomo, it didn’t bother me too much.

I was using a Verizon iPhone 5S with the NifMo SIM and was able to use the personal hot spot function without any issues.

 

3. Y!mobile

Y!mobile uses SoftBank’s network and actually has a network of its own as well.

They were formerly the compnay eAccess and they acquired Willcom down the road so the company has some background history.

Y!mobile wasn’t under my radar at first but I got interested after seeing the 1980 commercial with Mirei Kiritani and the grumpy cat (futenyann).

I start looking into it and found that its super cheap at 1,980 yen including talk. 
Not only was it cheap, the data speeds were said to be super fast (for a MVNO).

That makes sense considering that they have a network of their own.

Their talk plan is pretty super. Talks under 10 minutes are free until you reach 300 calls per month.
My calls normally don’t last 10 minutes (you can always redial if it does) and I’m not going to be calling 300 times per month so I’ve got nothing to worry about in this area.

There was a Y!mobile shop near my house so I decided to go with the flow and made the switch.

 

 

How much did I save switching to Y!mobile?

3,000 yen monthly, 36,000 yen annually

Lets look at my docomo bill a month prior to switching (because the last month includes termination fees and switching fees).

docomo-month-before

The total fee is 7,673 yen.
I don’t make many calls so this is what my typical phone bill would look like.

Next, lets look at my phone bill for the three months after switching to Y!mobile.

june-aug-ymobile

Fluctuating around 3,700 yen.

Lets look at the August bill as an example.

august-y-mobile

I’m on the 3GB plan  (Smartphone M plan) which is 2,980 yen per month and not the 1,980 yen plan (Smartphone S plan). 
The bill exceeds 2,980 yen due to consumption tax, SMS and calls to the 0570 number, which is not covered by the 10 minute free talk.

The payment to docomo was around 7,600 yen, so when you consider the 3,700 yen payment to Y!mobile, the difference is 2,900 yen.
Instant savings of approximately 3,000 yen per month.
That’s 36,000 yen an year!
I buy a new iPhone every two years so I can use the money saved towards the new iPhone!

There’s a small catch though.
I had to break my two year contract with docomo to make the switch and ended up paying an early termination penalty of 9,500 yen.

You also need to pay a transfer fee of 2,000 yen to docomo and a sign up fee to Y!mobile of 3,000 yen so the switching cost ends up being 14,500 yen.
The monthly savings are 3,000 yen so you can easily make up for that in five months.

If you’re making the switch during the renewal month, then the switching cost is only 5,000 yen.

If your renewal month is more than 4 months away, you might be better off just paying the penalty and making the switch.

 

 

How’s Y!mobile’s speed?

I don’t notice any change from docomo

Maybe its because I don’t game or stream long videos, but honestly, never was there I time I was frustrated with its speed.

I did a speed test at a random place along side the Yamanote Line in Tokyo.

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Not to shabby.

 

 

What I don’t like about Y!mobile

There are two issues

I don’t have any concerns with everyday use.

I even like the grumpy cat can (futeneko can) that they were handing out this month.

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However, I have two issues and this would be something to watch out for if you’re considering Y!mobile.

  • Y!mobile requires a two year contract and an early termination penalty of 9,500 yen
  • Can’t use the personal hot spot function on an iPhone that’s not purchased from Y!mobile

Regarding the first point, the other MVNOs are pretty relaxed with early terminations.
For example, NifMo locks you in for seven months which is better than the two years by Y!mobile.

I sure hope Y!mobile at least shortens the contract period so that users can consider other options to suit their needs.

The second point is something I found out after making the switch so watch out people!

When you go to the iPhone personal hot spot screen, the button takes you to the SoftBank website but you can’t do anything from that website.

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I looked around to see if there was anyway around this and found a small note somewhere buried in the Y!mobile website saying that the tethering option is not provided for iPhones not purchased from Y!mobile.

 

 

Summary

Monthly savings of 3,000 yen, annual savings of 36,000 yen without sacrificing data speed is awesome.

I just hope that the people over at Y!mobile do something the termination penalty and the tethering function for the iPhone!

 

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