Last week I finally got around to changing my mobile phone provider. It was really easy to do and I don't know why I didn't do it years ago.
I do know that since I wrote the first post about mobile phone providers I have spent about 48,000 yen that I didn't need to (my monthly SoftBank bill is around 9,000 yen while my new bill from Aeon Mobile will be 1,324 yen a month, and I wrote that post six months ago).
Mr Money Mustache would be most justified in punching me in the face repeatedly for being an idiot.
Let me tell you just how easy it is to avoid being an idiot consumer sucka. All you need to do is ditch your Big 3 (Softbank, AU, DoCoMo) contract and switch to a low-cost MVNO.
Step 1: contact your current provider (I went into the SoftBank shop opposite my house)
Step 2: tell them you want to change providers (のりかえ)
Step 3: ignore their attempts to persuade you not to (I told them how much cheaper Aeon Mobile was: they gave up after that)
Step 4: get your MNP portability number (ten digits)
Step 5: agree to pay their usurious cancellation charges, etc (for SoftBank: 10,000 yen cancellation penalty and 3000 yen to get the MNP number)
Step 6: go to your new provider
Step 7: sign up for the new service and give them the MNP number
Step 8: wait about an hour then use your new phone service
It was incredibly easy and straightforward. The whole thing took about two hours, from the time I walked into Softbank, then drove to the nearest JUSCO, and did all the paperwork, to the time I got my new working phone.
I already had an unlocked Nexus phone that I had been using in Europe, so this time I just got a SIM for that.
There are a number of MVNOs in Japan now. Most of them use the Docomo network, so reception and service area will be similar. You can see a comparison here.
I was very impressed with Aeon Mobile though. They are cheap (my 1GB monthly bill will be 1,324 yen), the sign up process is really easy, you can cancel at any time with no penalty (although if you want to leave and take your phone number with you in the first six months they will charge you 8,000 yen, after that it's the standard 3,000 yen for the MNP number), and the people were nice.
You can bring any unlocked phone you want to use (you can get them cheaply online, particularly in the UK where the prices haven't changed in line with the exchange rate), or if you don't have one you can choose from a range of cheap and cheerful options they have.
No one asked to see my zairyu card, and they were happy to make the contract in my kanji alias, even though I was paying with a credit card with my name in romaji on it. Just nice and reasonable.
I can't believe I gave 8-9,000 yen a month to SoftBank for 13 years. Ugh. Doubt I will miss the annoying paperwork, the indifferent employees, and the extortionate prices. The final straw? The fact that they wouldn't unlock my iPhone for me. Goodbye and good riddance.
Anyone else using a cheap mobile phone service provider? How are you finding it? If not, now you have less of an excuse not to change :)