Are Unlimited WiFi services truly unlimited?
The number of foreign travelers coming to Japan has tripled in the past 5 years. This is majorly due to the mitigation of visa policies and the rising popularity of Low-cost Carrier flights.
But because of this sudden growth of inbound travelers, there are some infrastructure problems that have become apparent. These infrastructures need to be upgraded to ensure a more enjoyable and convenient stay for foreign travelers. And one of the most noticeable problems is the lack of free wifi connection spots.
While Japan is doing its best to increase the number of free wifi spots, what foreign visitors are doing to ensure their access to the internet is either purchase a SIM card or rent a WiFi router. Many companies have come up with these services and most of them are claiming to offer "Unlimited High Speed WiFi". But the problem is, most "Unlimited High Speed WiFi" services don't actually provide both "Unlimited data" and "Unlimited high speed".
Many of the companies that provide this service claim that they provide "Unlimited data", but don't specify the details about the "high speed" part. Often this means that depending on the amount of data you use, the connection speed might slow down. Even if they claim "Unlimited high speed", you might experience bad connection depending on the hour of the day (e.g. after 6 pm) or place you're at (inside a building or vehicle).
We recommend you to thoroughly check the cautionary points and customer reviews before choosing a particular service.
1. Be aware of "Unlimited High Speed WiFi" services that have a data limit for high speed.
- a. If you use more than 1 to 3 GB in a single day, your speed might be limited to 1Mbps the next day (this is good enough for chatting or emailing, but not good enough to watch Youtube videos).
- b. If the total amount of data used reaches 7 GB during your trip, your speed might be dropped and limited to 128Kbps for the rest of the rental period (this is not even good enough to use Twitter comfortably).
If you like using SNS, watching videos, or playing online games, it is not unusual for someone to use a couple of GB per day. So caution is necessary.
2. Be aware of "Unlimited High Speed WiFi" services that have a bad connection during certain hours of the day.
- a. Many Unlimited High speed WiFi services have a bad connection or experience lag in the connection after 6 pm due to user congestion. Even if this happens while companies claim their service is "Unlimited high speed", there is no law that controls this and therefore you won't be able to get a refund even if you demand one.
- b. Many Unlimited High speed WiFi services have a limited area for high speed service. In many cases, connections are not strong so you might experience a bad connection when you're in a building, vehicle, underground, in tunnels, or in the mountains.
Having these caution points in mind, be careful when picking a WiFi rental service when you come to Japan. Be sure to check the device's spec and the service's customer reviews beforehand so you can find the best option.
Here in Japan Wireless, we provide complete "Unlimited Data" and "Unlimited High Speed" for our WiFi rental service. If the device we provide to you experiences any type of malfunction, we will replace it free of charge. There could be other companies out there, but as far as I know, Japan Wireless is one of the very few companies that can assure you true "Unlimited data and high speed WiFi" service.
Consider us for your next trip to Japan.
Let us know if you are aware of any other company that offers a true "Unlimited" wifi rental service.