How to Choose Internet Service in Japan (WiMAX)

 

WiMAX

WiMAX is one type of Japanese portable WiFi(or mobile WiFi) internet service provided by UQ Communications Inc.

As WiMAX doesn't need physical installation in a building, consumers can get the internet easier and quicker other internet services like fiber-optics.

WiMAX users who also use an au smartphone service can get a bundled deal(discount) for a monthly charge of smartphone.

Here, in this article, WiMAX's pros and cons will be thoroughly explained, and it will talk about how to get a contract for WiMAX with more cashback benefit and less monthly fee.

Who Might Need WiMAX?

If your situation is like some of below, WiMAX might work better than fiber optic internet.

(If none of them above is your case, you might want to go to read this article ⇒ Japanese Fiber Optic Internet Service)

Below is the explanation about why WiMAX is recommended for whom with situations above. If you think you know about WiMAX enough, you can just jump to How to Get WiMAX Cheaply.

Pros of WiMAX

WiMAX
WiMAX's mobile Wi-Fi router

Mobility

The best strength of WiMAX is its mobility. As long as you carry a small mobile Wi-Fi router, you can use the internet wherever you go. If you need to often use the internet outdoor for your study or work, WiMAX is highly recommended.

No Need Physical Installation

As WiMAX doesn't need any cable to use the internet, it does not need physical installation in the building. Of course, there is no installation fee.

Cheap Monthly Fee

Comparing to non-mobile internet services such as fiber-optics, WiMAX's monthly charge is cheap. While fiber optic internet's monthly fee ranges from around 4,000yen to 5,000yen, those of WiMAX's ranges from 2,000yen to 4,000yen.

More details about WiMAX's price are in the chapter, Price and Cashback Comparison

Can Save Battery of Smartphone

Using the smartphone's internet(so-called LTE) accelerates battery consumption of the smartphone. If you use WiMAX instead of smartphone's internet, you can save the battery of the smartphone and also use the internet faster than LTE.

Cons of WiMAX

japan internet speed

Internet Speed

One of cons of WiMAX is its speed is slower than optical fiber internet services such as au HIKARI(auひかり) and FLET'S HIKARI(フレッツ光)

The max speed of Nuro HIKARI(Nuro光), the fastest fiber-optics in Japan, is 2Gbps, and the max speed of the other fiber-optics services such as au HIKARI(auひかり) or FLET'S HIKARI(フレッツ光) is all 1Gbps

On the other hands, even though WiMAX is the fastest mobile service in Japan, its max speed is 558Mbs which is slower than fiber optic internet (despite WiMAX providers say WiMAX's max speed is 1.2Gbps when they advertise the services, the practical max speed is still 558Mbps).

So, if internet speed is important to you, fiber-optics such as au HIKARI(auひかり), FLET'S HIKARI(フレッツ光), or NURO HIKARI(Nuro光).

If you want to know more about fiber-optics services, go to read this article ⇒ fiber optic internet in Japan

One person, One WiMAX

Another con of WiMAX is, it is hard to share the internet with family members or a roommate. For internet connection, a mobile router is necessary. However, if somebody took it out of home, of course, others can't use the internet.

So, WiMAX is recommended to people live alone and often use the internet outdoor.

How to Get WiMAX Cheaply

Japan internet cost

Although WiMAX's speed is the same for all WiMAX providers, monthly charges and cash backs vary a lot from provider to provider.

An interesting fact is, even though UQ WiMAX is both the network operator and also provider of WiMAX, making a contract for WiMAX with providers other than UQ WiMAX costs less.

So, getting a contract for WiMAX with providers other than UQ WiMAX is recommended here.

One more thing you need to know is, there are some providers who offer internet with a cheap monthly fee for the first few months to attract customers and dramatically raise the price.

For making sure this does not happen to you, you had better consider the total charge you pay to your provider for the contract period(3 years) and cashback you can get from it.

But don't worry about all the calculation, you can just check the work below already got done, below are prices of each WiMAX provider considering the total charge and cashback for 3 years.

With the calculation, this page will inform you of the 2 top WiMAX providers with the lowest prices.

Price and Cashback Comparison

Before you see the calculation, check out the table of a monthly fee and cashback of each provider.

In the table, you can see each provider's minimum and maximum prices in the form of '**yen~**yen'. Here, the minimum price is the price of Standard Data Plan(通常プラン)'s monthly charge and maximum price is the price of Unlimited Data Plan(ギガ放題プラン)

* Below prices are ones after discounts were applied through each provider's promotion.

Provider Cashback/Monthly Charge Mobile Router Price

Promotional Link
  • Promotion
  • None
  • Monthly Charge
  • 3,380~4,379yen
free

Promotional Link
  • Promotion
  • up to 37,100yen cashback
  • Monthly Charge
  • 3,609~4,263yen
free

Promotional Link
  • Promotion
  • 30,000yen cashback
  • Monthly Charge
  • 3,800~4,380yen
free

Promotional Link
  • Promotion
  • 13,000yen cashback
  • Monthly Charge
  • 3,696~4,380yen
free

Promotional Link
  • Promotion
  • initiation fee 18,857yen is waved
    (limited to online contract)
  • Monthly Charge
  • 2,726~3,411yen
free

Promotional Link
  • Promotion
  • None
  • Monthly Charge
  • 2,590~3,760yen
free

Promotional Link
  • Promotion
  • 23,100yen cashback
  • Monthly Charge
  • 3,670~4,350yen
free

Mentioned above, to make a contract for WiMAX with the lowest cost is, comparing the calculation of total monthly charges for 3 years and cashback. The following table shows the calculation.

(for the calculation, the prices of Unlimited Data Plan(ギガ放題プラン) of each WiMAX provider were used.)

Total Charge for 3 Years & Cashback
Provider Total Monthly Charges
for 3 years
Cashback Total Charge - Cashback
So-net 145,656 yen None 145,656‬ yen
UQ WiMAX 155,628 yen 13,000 yen 142,628 yen
BIGLOBE 156,310 yen 23,000 yen 133,310 yen
GMOとくとくBB 152,160 yen 37,100 yen 115,060 yen
Broad WiMAX 112,563 yen None 112,563 yen
DTI 126,670 yen None 126,670 yen
@nifty 150,890 yen 23,100 yen 127,790 yen

Below are the top 2 WiMAX providers with the lowest prices based on the calculation above.

Top 2 WiMAX Providers with the Lowest Costs (3-Year Contract)

rank1

  • Promotion
  • initiation fee 18,857 yen is waved
    (limited to online contract)
  • Monthly Charge
  • 2,726~3,411円

Broad WiMAX is known as a provider who offers the most discount among WiMAX providers in Japan.

Instead of offering any cashback, with total costs of 112,563 yen for 3 years, Broad WiMAX provides WiMAX internet at the cheapest price.

However, this ISP is also known for its expensive initiation fee(18,857yen).

But if you order WiMAX through the online promotional link, the initiation fee will be waived so, it is strongly recommended to make a contract for the service via the promotional link below.

(*for getting the initiation fee waived, you need to order two optional services, but you can cancel the services right after you receive a router from BroadWiMAX)

Promotioanl Link: Broad WiMAX Initiation Fee Promotion

(Promotion Period: 2019.11.1~ 2019.11.30)

rank2

GMO WiMAX
  • Promotion
  • Up to 37,100 yen Cashback
  • Monthly Charge
  • 3,609~4,263 yen

GMO is known as the largest dormain hosting company and also one of the biggest WiMAX providers in Japan.

They offer up to 37,100 yen cashback which is the most among Japanese WiMAX providers.

The cashback amount varies depending on types of mobile routers, but still, the minimum cashback customers can get(29,000 yen) is the most among WiMAX providers.

Cashback(37,100 yen) subtracted from total charges for 3 years(101,004 yen) is 152,160 yen. So, GMO WiMAX offers WiMAX for the 2rd cheapest price.

(*Two optional services are automatically ordered when you make a contract for GMO WiMAX. They are free for 2 months, but you need to cancel the services in 2 months if you want to avoid extra charges after that.)

Promotional Link: GMO WiMAX(GMOとくとくBB) up to 37,100 yen cashback
(Promotion Period: 2019.11.1~ 2019.11.30)

 

About WiMAX + Smartphone Bundled Deals

Japan Smartphone

Like other internet services in Japan such as fiber-optics, you can get a discount for smartphone's monthly fee, as a bundled deal of WiMAX and smartphone service.

However, unlike fiber-optics, only au smartphone users can get the deal.

This bundled deal is called Smart Value Mine(スマートバリューmine)

Because WiMAX's monthly fee itself is cheaper than those of fiber optic internet, the bundled discount is less than those of fiber-optics. The max amount of discount is 934 yen.

The discount is applied to a monthly charge of the smartphone, and the amount of discount varies depending on the smartphone's data plan. Below is the amount of discount for each data plan.

Data Plan Discount
5~30GB/month 934 yen
2 or 3GB/month 743 yen
1GB/month 500 yen

Basically, all WiMAX providers offer the same discount for the Smart Value Mine.

However, there are some providers who advertise as if they offer more discounts than others. They are just lying because although promotion can be different from provider to provider, the discount amount of Smart Value Mine never changes.

Be cautious of such providers.

Conclusion

For choosing WiMAX provider with the low cost, you should consider the entire cost for WiMAX going to take during contract years by calculating the total charge for internet usage and cashback you will get from the provider. And, if you are au smartphone user, don't forget to get a bundled deal.