Japanese telco rolls out free mobile data for tourists bound to Hokkaido and Niigata

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Japanese telco NTT DOCOMO recently introduced “Plan 0” that allows foreign visitors in Japan to access the Internet for free via the DOCOMO mobile network effective December 26.

Part of the telco’s Japan Welcome Series line of products, Plan Zero is initially available only in the prefectures of Hokkaido and Niigata for now. To acquire a Plan 0 SIM card, one needs to apply here. Part of application process is to answer surveys and view ads, which subsidizes the cost of the providing the free service. A code will then be sent, which must be used to pick up the SIM at the designated location.

This author tried the application process and learned that Plan 0 will be initially available to 4,000 applications of Hokkaido SIMs until March 31, 2018 and 650 applications of Niigata SIMs until supply lasts.

Japan Welcome SIM is provided as a 3-in-1 SIM card compatible with regular, micro and nano formats. Access to the DOCOMO network is provided for 15 days under various plans — Plan 0, Plan S, Plan M and Plan L. Plan 0 offers free Internet in exchange for viewing a certain number of video ads and completing a survey prior to arriving in Japan. Ad-free access at 128 Kbps is available for ¥1,080 (Plan S), or high-speed (max. 788 Mbps*1) 4G access is available with Plan M (¥1,836 for 600 MB) and Plan L (¥2,376 for 1.2 GB). Users can continue to enjoy the high-speed service by topping up their SIMs for ¥216 (100 MB), ¥756 (500 MB) or ¥1,296 (1 GB). Alternatively, the SIMs can be topped up with free high-speed data through methods such as watching video ads or completing surveys. Even after purchased high-speed data amounts have been used up, access to the network is still available at 128 Kbps for the remainder of the 15-day period.

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