TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: Japanese Calling Home From UK - Questions

Re: Japanese Calling Home From UK - Questions

Mark Crispin (MRC@CAC.Washington.EDU)
Thu, 27 Jan 2005 19:11:08 -0800

The phone systems used in Japan is PHS or W-CDMA. Phones for these
systems will not work outside of Japan. Global phones which have GSM
capability, such as NTT DoCoMo FOMA phones, or VGS phones from
Vodafone KK Japan phones, will work overseas.

GSM roaming is expensive with a Japanese USIM card. Expect to pay
something like 150 yen/minute to use it in the UK.

Unless there is some reason why she wants to have a Japan phone number
(country code 81) in the UK, she would be better off with a UK phone.
Pre-pay phones are inexpensive (e.g. 40 pounds for a basic Vodafone UK

The problem is if she insists upon using a phone with Japanese
instructions and display. Such phones are easy enough to get in Japan
(e.g. FOMA or VGS), but generally they are SIM-locked and will not
accept a foreign SIM card.

For example, I have a Vodafone KK Japan V801SH which is bilingual
Japanese/English, but it will not accept a Vodafone UK SIM card (I
tried). I've heard that a number of hackers have tried (and failed)
to crack the SIM lock; also that Vodafone will not unlock it.

> * A phone which can be arranged after arrival in the UK and which
> includes a Japanese language function.

I doubt that such a thing exists in the UK.

> * A plan/tariff whereby the user (cousin) does not have to pay for
> incoming calls made from Japan by family etc. Or where these are as
> cheap as possible.

That would require a domestic UK service. A Japanese roamer in the UK
pays for both incoming and outgoing calls.

> * The main purpose of the phone would be as a means of contact
> for her family in Japan, since she does not know many people in the UK.

Once again, I recommend a basic pre-pay Vodafone UK phone. Yes, it
will have English menus and instructions, but being a basic phone it
won't have very many functions or complex features to learn. Assuming
that she knows how to use a mobile phone in Japan, it won't be
particularly difficult for her to figure out a UK mobile phone even if
it's in English.

-- Mark --
Science does not emerge from voting, party politics, or public debate.
Si vis pacem, para bellum.

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