iPad LTE verizon or at&t for japan travel?

Discussion in 'iPad' started by cfs, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. cfs macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008

    I am getting a new iPad this weekend if I can figure out the answer to this question. I travel to Japan a few times per year and wondering if it matters which version iPad I get? Is there an internal difference between at&t and verizon that wouldn't allow one to go on a certain network? I don't care about LTE overseas. My plan is to rent a microSIM from http://www.econnectjapan.com/products-page.html. It's only about 41.00 for 1gb/30days. I just need to get online. Japan runs CDMA

    Looking at the specs page, it seems both AT&T and Verizon share these network capabilities. I just have no idea what this all means:

    LTE 700, UMTS/HSPA/HSPA+/DC-HSDPA (850, 900, 1900, 2100 MHz); GSM/EDGE (850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz)

    Only AT&T model can connect on this network:
    LTE (2100 MHz)

    Only verizon can connect to this:
    CDMA EV-DO Rev. A (800, 1900 MHz)

    So the question is, which of these two choices is better for international use? Would both work? Thanks in advance.

  2. taedouni macrumors 65816

    Jun 7, 2011
    Neither will work in Japan. Both have the same international capabilities on GSM networks. The only difference between the phones is the LTE capability. The AT&T model is compatible with AT&T LTE and etc.
    Japan uses CDMA so it needs a device that has been configured to work on their network just like the Verizon iPad was configured to work on Verizon's network.
  3. Jtludwig macrumors 6502

    Mar 24, 2012
    Wirelessly posted

    Completely wrong! Both versions will work on the 2100mhz UMTS aka W-CDMA networks in Japan.
  4. RocketRed macrumors 6502a

    Jan 25, 2012
    Phones? He's talking about the iPad.

    Japan uses GSM and CDMA. KDDI uses CDMA while Softbank and Docomo uses GSM.
  5. Jtludwig macrumors 6502

    Mar 24, 2012
    Wirelessly posted

    Yep it sure will!
  6. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008

    a request - if you do try one of these rental microSIM cards from econnect, would you mind posting your experience back here in this thread? TIA

    I too travel to Japan a few times per year. I think econnect must be a new vendor - In the past it seemed difficult or impossible for foreigners to rent a microSIM card when visiting Japan. So on my latest trip last year I rented one of those pocket WiFi devices (GP01) from globaladvanced. but a SIM for my iPad would be way more convenient (plus battery life of the GP01 was poor, only ~4hrs)

    also, if you do try one of these microSIMs, I'd be interested to know if the Personal Hotspot feature works with your new iPad - it appears that feature has to be supported by the carrier.
  7. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    I just received an email from econnectjapan. Here is what they said,

    I think every iPad supports (W-)CDMA as GSM is actually 2G and not 3G network. If the iPad only supports GSM, our sim card cannot be used.

    I'm not totally sure what this means. Any of you understand this?


    When you say it sure will, Do you mean both ipads?

    Also I just posted about the an email conversation with econnectjapan regarding their SIM cards. Any way you can decipher what they said?
  8. Dkorda macrumors 6502

    Mar 7, 2012
    Just rent a mobile 3G card, then connect is wifi to your iPad. Would be much easier.
  9. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    If UMTS is W-CDMA then you are correct. The Sim from Japan given from econnectjapan should theoretically work.


    What's a mobile 3G card? I looked it up and found nothing.


    econnectjapan just email and they said:


    Thank you for sending us the spec.

    Both should work. As I thought, both supports our 3G network.

    Best regards,
    Shuhei Koyama (eConnect Japan Inc.)

    I guess the micro SIM for 4,100 yen (1gb/30days) will work with Verizon LTE as well as AT&T.

  10. beret9987 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2005
    San Francisco, CA
    I actually just got back from Japan, and my softbank SIM(I have a post-paid account there) works just fine with my AT&T iPad. LTE will not work in Japan though, they're using a totally different band than what we're using. 3G will work just fine though. Where are you headed though, just wondering?
  11. cfs, Apr 15, 2012
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2012

    cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    Nagoya. I go every summer and as you know wifi is very scarce, as you know even if there is a Starbucks or McDonalds you can't depend on having it. However where I'm staying has wifi.

    What iPad are are you using? Don't care about LTE but really want to be connected on the road.

    Here is another good site I just found. The author mentions that a microSIM with data plan can be purchased even if on a tourist VISA.


    Starting to look promising when traveling to Japan and in need of affordable data.
  12. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    Re: rentalphone I thought I read elsewhere that data rates on B-mobile were very slow, in Kbps range? And their WiMAX version didn't seem like it would have coverage outside of the cities (I usually travel between Tokyo and Nagano pref in various smaller areas along the JR Chuo line)

    For another data point, I mentioned I previously rented a pocket wifi in Japan from globaladvanced. I had unlimited data 7.2Mbps, but only needed a few days. they are definitely not the cheapest but their service was very convenient and reliable and no activation required. Just picked up at Narita post office desk and turned on and started using. Then returned it in prepaid mailer..

    But I just noticed globaladvanced also now offer microSIM card rental. They didn't offer that when I was last there in the fall. They specifically mention iPad, iPad 2 and the new iPad on their page

    Again, the seem more expensive than econnect, but the good thing is there seems to be options now for visitors when they were difficult to find before. Maybe things will get more competitive
  13. myMacRumors macrumors regular

    Aug 18, 2010
    For iPad and/or phone, I would go with AT&T since Softbank has contract with AT&T. I would skip the prepaid third party micro-SIM cards; save yourself some device connection problems. Nothing is "cheap" in Japan. My friends were using Softbank since they held the US alien registration cards

    Softbank shops with English speaking reps at http://mb.softbank.jp/en/customer_support/shops.html

    there should be Softbank reps in the major airports
  14. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    I thought it was difficult or impossible for a foreigner visiting Japan to get a non-contract SIM from SoftBank? That's what a Japanese colleague told me when I last year had him check for me
  15. SaSaSushi macrumors 68040


    Aug 8, 2007
    Takamatsu, Japan
    It used to be. See here for info on Softbank's options.

    It seems that micro-sim rentals are for iPhone only at present. One iPad option would be their pocket wi-fi at 1575 yen/day for unlimited data.

    Note that these rentals are only available at the airport Softbank shops, not even the English-staffed stores.
  16. beret9987 macrumors regular

    Jun 14, 2005
    San Francisco, CA

    It definitely is. If I wasn't there so much, I'd definitely consider these options. And yea, for such an advanced country, the lack of wi-fi is slightly surprising...
  17. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    aha. Thx. Good to see there finally more options including from SoftBank. Perhaps they'll follow soon with SIMs for iPad. As for pocket wifi rental, it looks like econnect is still a cheaper option starting at 1080yen/day or less. And econnect already has SIMs for iPad.
  18. Archer1440 Suspended


    Mar 10, 2012
    Threr's plenty of wifi in Japan. It's just not free. If you have a docomo phone you can access wifi in lots of places, but of course if you're a foreigner on a 90 day entry visa, getting an account is nontrivial.

    I go to Japan four to six times a year and typically end up using my Airport in hotels, and an At&T international data plan for both iPad and phone. If I couldn't expense the data I would be more motivated to come up with a better solution, but it works and I don't care what it costs so much.

    With that said I will definitely be trying the econnect microSim on my next trip. It's the first data plan I've seen that's readily available for us evil batakusai gaijin.
  19. LanEvo macrumors 6502

    Sep 5, 2010
    That is pretty steep, I don't think I could use that much data worth to make up for the cost.
  20. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    I will be going to Japan and July and be trying econnect. When are you going? If earlier can you post how it went?
  21. b.c. macrumors 6502

    Nov 5, 2008
    fyi I emailed econnect and asked them if their iPad SIM supports the new iPad's Personal Hotspot feature

    they said although they support tethering/Personal Hotspot with iPhone, they don't support it for the new iPad. :(

    Since DoCoMo is the actual carrier, it's up to DoCoMo to support it or not - apparently they don't support the feature on iPad for their other customers. That's too bad, I was hoping to use my new iPad in place of a pocket WiFi - in hotspot mode supposedly iPad will get ~25hrs battery life, vs 3-4hrs that I've seen with the pocket WiFi devices. But still worth giving econnect a try on my next trip...
  22. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    I'll be trying them to in July. If nobody reports back before then I will make sure I post to let people know how it goes.

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