Current status of phone numbers in Japan
A report recently came out that Japan is expected to run out of phone numbers in a few years, so its communications ministry is gearing up for it as early as now.
According to Japan Times, Japan will use up all available 11-digit phone numbers by 2020, and to prepare for that, a proposal for the creation of 10 billion 14-digit phone numbers has been approved. In coordination with the three top mobile communication companies in the country — Softbank, KDDI, and NTT Docomo — the target date for the launch of the batch of new numbers is before the end of 2021.
At present, Japanese mobile phone numbers start with “070,” “080,” and “090,” and “Internet of Things” devices use “020.” The proposed 14-digit numbers will also begin with “020.”
More information about the plans will be available in June, after the ministry gathers sufficient data and public opinion. A ministerial ordinance is set to be released by the end of 2019. And, if system updates and other logistical tasks are carried out ahead of schedule, new numbers will be assigned to the three major mobile carriers earlier.
Advantages of having a Japanese phone number
If you are staying in Japan for an extended period of time and need to have a Japanese phone number to use while there, you should know that getting a Japanese number can be a bit tricky. While there are many free messaging mobile apps around that you can rely on to get in touch with your family and friends back home, having a Japanese phone number gives you a lot more benefits.
With a Japanese number, you can:
- Rent an apartment
- Open a bank account
- Ship a package
So, if you are in Japan long-term for a study program, work, or others, it is best to get a Japanese phone number for communication purposes.
Ways to get a Japanese phone number
There are many advantages to having a Japanese phone number. It makes renting an apartment, processing documents and other tasks, and having your own bank account and credit card less complicated. It also allows your employer and coworkers to reach you easily.
If you need one, you have a number of options available, such as:
Purchasing a new phone at one of the big three carriers
It will probably be a lot cheaper for you to get a new phone in Japan instead of using your current phone and activating roaming if you are in Japan long-term. Softbank, KDDI, and NTT Docomo have several branches and stores nationwide where you can buy a new phone with a Japan SIM card.
Before heading to the phone store, you have to prepare the following things:
- Official identification – You should bring a valid form of identification, such as your passport, residence card, or Japanese driver’s license.
- Credit card – You will need to provide a credit card where the carrier can charge your payment for the first month and other charges.
- Hanko – You will have to sign some paperwork so do not forget to bring your hanko with you if you have one. If you do not have one, your signature will be fine.
After picking a phone plan, signing the contract, and others, you will have to wait at the store for about an hour to know if your application for a phone purchase has been granted or rejected. If you were approved, then you now have a Japanese phone number to use. If not, try choosing a different plan or go to a different carrier and try your luck there.
Renting a phone
If you do not want to purchase a new phone, you can just rent a phone for use in Japan. Across the country, there are several rental companies that can give you a device that you can use right away.
Even before you arrive in Japan, you can place an order for a rental phone online and have the phone delivered to your hotel, hostel, or other address in Japan on a particular date. On the order form, you usually only have to provide your full name, e-mail address, credit card information, shipping address, delivery date and return date, and preferred phone model.
And, in general, the cost is around 4,000 yen week, with additional charges for international calls and texts, and extra data.
Buying a Japan SIM card
If you want to use your current phone in Japan and do not mind using a different SIM card, look into getting a Japan SIM card that offers a Japanese phone number, in addition to data. With it, you can receive and make local and international calls and texts and enjoy 24/7 superfast LTE internet speeds whenever and wherever you are in the country.
Mobal offers various short-term and long-term Japan SIM card plans that include Japanese phone numbers and unlimited data service.
Go to Mobal’s Japan SIM cards page now to learn more and place an order now.