Cellular phone frequencies used in Japan

So, the first thing you need to know is if your cellphone is compatible in Japan.

First, there’s no 2G GSM cellphone company in Japan. If your phone is a simple talk-only or talk-and-text cheap feature phone, it may not work in Japan even if you’re going to use it on the international roaming plan from your own non-Japanese carrier. You need a 3G compatible phone in Japan.

There’re 3 major cellphone companies in Japan; NTT Docomo, Softbank, and KDDI au. If you’re from the United States of America visiting Japan and your phone is from AT&T or T-Mobile US, your phone will probably work on NTT Docomo (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz or 850/800MHz) or Softbank (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz) signals while roaming there, provided that your phone is compatible with 3G 2100MHz frequency. If you’re from the USA and your phone is from Verizon or Sprint, your phone will work on NTT Docomo (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz or 850/800MHz) or Softbank (W-CDMA/UMTS 2100MHz) or KDDI au (CDMA2000 800MHz only) signals in Japan. If you’re from any other countries and your phone is a 3G W-CDMA/UMTS compatible phone, it will work with NTT Docomo or Softbank signals.

Here’s the list of cellphone frequencies used by 3 cellphone companies and their subsidiaries/group companies in Japan.

Carrier Name 2G GSM 3G W-CDMA/UMTS 4G LTE
NTT Docomo None used Major Cities:2100MHz (Band 1)
Rural Area:800MHz (Band 19 or 6)
Limited Area:1800MHz (Band 9)
2100MHz Band 1
1800MHz(1.7GHz) Band 3
800MHz Band 19
1500MHz Band 21
Softbank None used 2100MHz (Band 1)
900MHz (Band 8)
1500MHz (Band 11)
2100MHz Band 1
1800MHz (1.7GHz) Band 3(*)
900MHz Band 8
TD-LTE 2.5GHz Band 41(*)
E-Access (e-mobile)
(Softbank)
None used 1700MHz (Band 9) 1800MHz (1.7GHz) Band 3
WCP
(Softbank)
None used None used TD-LTE 2.5GHz Band 41
Willcom
(Softbank)
None used 1900MHz PHS None used
KDDI au None used CDMA2000 800MHz
CDMA2000 2100MHz
2100MHz Band 1
1500MHz Band 11
800MHz Band 18
TD-LTE 2.5GHz Band 41(**)
UQ Communications
(KDDI au)
None used None used WiMAX
TD-LTE 2.5GHz Band 41 (WiMAX2+)

(*) E-Access, WCP, Willcom are the subsidiaries of Softbank. They may roam frequencies each other.
(**) UQ Communications Inc. is a KDDI group company. KDDI may offer UQ’s data service to KDDI customers.

In addition, there’re several MVNOs which use NTT Docomo’s signal, such as b-mobile, IIJ, etc. And, there’s one MVNO that uses KDDI au’s signal; K-Opticom’s “mineo” brand. I’ll talk about the MVNOs in Japan on a separate article later.

34 comments to Cellular phone frequencies used in Japan

  • Am aflat aceasta pagina, dupa ce am cautat despre Cellular phone
    frequencies used in Japan BlogFromAmerica (English) pe Google.
    Se pare ca informatia dvs e foarte valoroasa, mai ales ca am mai gasit aici si
    despre ora, ora exacta,
    lucruri interesante si folositoare. Mult succes
    in continuare!

    [Reply]

  • Mathieu

    Good articles. It pointed out which companies would mostly be compatible with our 3G phones, but I’m wondering how about 4G? Are Docomo and Softbank again most likely to work with our phones, more than KDDI au? I often heard KDDI au has a different network and wondered if their phones would work here in Canada. If not, I would take one from Docomo or Softbank.

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    Most Japanese Android smartphones are not compatible with the LTE frequencies used in US/Canada. They would not connect to US/Canada’s LTE.
    A few Chinese-made “SIM-free” Android smartphones sold through their web sites or non-carrier cellphone shops (but not by any Japanese 3 major carriers) have LTE frequencies used in US/Canada, especially Band 4. So, it may work here in USA/Canada.
    iPhones and iPads sold in Japan have no problem connecting to LTE in USA/Canada, because Apple’s models have almost same frequency specifications worldwide.
    A KDDI phone will work in USA/Canada (and everywhere in most of the world) connecting to 3G W-CDMA/UMTS because the phone would have to have 3G W-CDMA/UMTS for the ability to roam internationally, even though their native 3G cell technology in Japan is CDMA2000 which is the same 3G technology used by Verizon and Sprint in USA. An Android smartphone sold by KDDI may not work with LTE in USA/CANADA. Of course, an iPhone sold by KDDI will connect to LTE in USA/Canada.

    On the other hand, if you bring the US or Canadian phones to Japan, most smartphones sold recently in North America are compatible with Band 1 2100MHz LTE because it is the most dominant LTE frequencies used in Asia and Europe. So, they can be used in Japan for LTE connection.

    [Reply]

    Mohit Reply:

    Is Oneplus 6 phone compatible in Japan for all telecom companies? Actually, I am an Indian resident and buy Oneplus 6 phone, and I will be going to Japan in a few months, so I want to know whether this phone will work in JAPAN or not?

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    Yes, Oneplus 6 is compatible with all 3 Japanese telecom companies.

  • Great list. Always difficult to find the exact frequencies in Japan. With such an entrenched mobile industry, it’s easy for the manufacturers to protect their business by using non-standard mobile bands, in the same way that the USA did by adopting NTSC TV. So much for global harmonisation!

    [Reply]

  • Rajat

    Is redmi note 5 pro will work in japan with 4g and 3 g networks.

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    Redmi note 5 pro works in Japan with Band 1/3 LTE 4G and Band 1 3G.

    [Reply]

  • Viktor

    Hello. Vertex S104 1900mhz in Japan working??

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    There’s no 2G GSM signal deployed in Japan.
    There’s no 3G 1900MHz Band 2 either.

    [Reply]

  • Susan

    I am requesting if Motorola Z Droid phone purchased through Verizon in United States with work if I move permanently to Japan?

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    Technically, Verizon’s version of Motorola Z Droid works in Japan.
    However, it is only compatible with 3G 2100MHz and 4G(LTE) 2100MHz, meaning that your internet speed may be slow in the congested area.
    And, because your Motorola Z Droid does not have the Japanese technical standard mark, called Giteki Mark, 3 largest Japanese cellphone companies will not give you a SIM card, meaning that you can not have a cellphone contract with these 3 large cellphone companies in Japan.
    You can try other prepaid SIM companies which use Docomo’s signal, like Rakuten Mobile, U-mobile, Biglobe, IIJmio, LINEmobile, OCN mobile one, nuro mobile and so on, which are tolerate with non-Giteki cellphones.

    In the long run, I would recommend that you buy either an iPhone, which is compatible most with world’s signals, or an Android phone in Japan which you may have a problem in reverse when you visit USA for a short time because Japanese Android phones have limited compatibility with US signals.

    [Reply]

  • attica

    Hello, does Sony Xperia SP c5302 work in Japan? I have been using this phone for 4 years and still good, that’s why I still have it. I’m going to Japan in a few weeks, so I wonder if my phone will work there. Thank you!

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    SONY xperia SP c65302 will work in Japan at 3G 2100MHz frequency for both voice call/sms text and data.

    [Reply]

  • Jason

    Will my Moto Z Droid work in Japan? My carrier said it is unlocked.(Verizon) If so, what sim/carrier is compatible with my phone? I just bought it a few months ago.

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    Sorry for late response.
    Your Moto Z Droid should work in Japan at least with one 3G and 4G LTE frequency of 21000 MHz.
    Any SIM compatible with NTT Docomo’s cellular wave can be used.
    There’re many.

    [Reply]

  • Shigeru Mike Iwasaki

    Will the Blackberry Key2 unlocked USA smartphone work in Japan?

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    Blackberry Key 2 US model is compatible in Japan, at frequencies Band 1, 3 and 28.
    It will work in Japan with SIMs which use NTT Docomo or Softbank lines.

    [Reply]

  • sex

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    will be a great author.I will make certain to
    bookmark your blog and will often come back at some point.
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    [Reply]

  • Mike B 413

    Hi,

    I have an old iphone 5 Model MD638LL/A MODEL A1428. I am reading conflicting things about whether or not it will work in Japan.

    Any help is greatly appreciated.

    Arigato, Mike

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    US version of iPhone 5 will only work with Japanese 3G signal at 2100MHz in Japan.
    It will not work with 4G/LTE signal in Japan.

    [Reply]

  • Oskar

    Hi Alex, I have european ‘Nokia 7 Plus Android One Global Dual SIM LTE-A’. Acording to phondb it supports LTE2100 (B1) and UMTS2100 (B1). In your post I see W-CDMA/UMTS 2100 as requirements. Is just UMTS enought? Will it work? 🙂

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    UMTS = W-CDMA.
    So, UMTS phones with 2100 MHz will work in Japan.

    Some of the new Japanese SIMs works with only LTE using VoLTE as voice communication, that is without 3G/W-CDMA/UMTS.
    You can also purchase a Data only SIM, for which case you only need LTE.

    [Reply]

  • JT

    Super late question, I know, but I’m looking at buying an international/global phone whilst residing in Japan, which is are sim-free. My current plan is with UQ.

    I’m leaning towards OnePlus 7T and the Realme X2 Pro, both seem like they support Band 41 (2500), but a lot of the sellers have a disclaimer that won’t offer refunds if the carrier doesn’t match.

    Just wanted to confirm once more with someone who seems more knowledgable than myself on this topic – will both of these phones be OK?

    Thanks,

    JT.

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    UQ Mobile requires LTE 1, 18, and 26.
    It seems both phones you mentioned looks like support these band.
    It should also be compatible with VoLTE for voice calls, which should not be a problem.
    And, you need to configure APN manually by yourself because non-Japanese Android phones do not automatically set APN to au’s value.

    [Reply]

  • Hardik

    I have MI 3 A mobile.. can I use this phone in Japan? In Which companies sim can use in Japan?

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    Xiaomi MI 3 is compatible with 3G 2100MHz only.
    You can use any MVNO SIM which use NTT Docomo’s cell frequency, such as Line Mobile, Aeon Mobile, OCN Mobile, IIJ Mio, nuro Mobile, and many more.

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    Recently I got a OnePlus 7T 1900HD Chinese model version… when I went to attempt to get Line Mobile, it did not work for me. They tried to use Softbank and the signal did not enter. I am thinking of converting the phone to the Global version, will that help? But if not I want to go for UQ Mobile for this phone. Is that a good idea? What should I do? I went to many carriers to see, but they were all uncertain about using this phone with their data. (Softbank, Rakuten, and AU) Rejected my phone, and said if something went wrong they cant be held responsible.

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    If the phone is unlocked, it should work with Line Mobile. However, you need to set both 3G (WCDMA) AND LTE on, AND you need to manually configure APN, though, for it to work with Line Mobile or any other Docomo compatible MVNO SIM.
    UQ Mobile (a subsidiary of KDDI AU) may not work because your phone does not have 3G CDMA function.
    Major carriers such as Docomo, Softbank and AU will not sell you their SIM because non-Japanese phone does not have a GITEKI mark (Technical approval mark from Japanese government).
    MVNOs will usually do not check Giteki mark.

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    I see.. I chose the wrong one then. I tried to use UQ Mobile, but I cant. UQ didnt care about the GITEKI mark and lent me a nano sim to test out at home. Then, how can I set both 3G (WCDMA) AND LTE? I know how to set up the APN through this site; https://www.apnsettings.org/japan/ntt-docomo-4g-apn-settings/

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    UQ Mobile is a subsidiary of KDDI au, which uses CDMA for 3G communication. Your phone does not meet the requirement for 3G CDMA.
    That may be the reason.

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    Nevermind.. I set the “Preferred network type to 2G/3G/4G(Automatic)” on the cellular data section. First time I went to the store I could not use softbank at all, but I had not set up any APN. The issue is I cant get to test the Line Mobile Sim unless I buy it, so I hadnt risked it, thinking I might have to return this phone. I really dont want to do that because of how much I paid for shipping. I tested the UQ nano by setting the APN to the AU one. however.. are there any other steps I should take before I test it again? Could the IMEI be blocked by softbank somehow?

    [Reply]

    Alex Yoshida Reply:

    First thing you need to test when you get a new SIM is “if you can make a voice call or not.”
    If you can make a voice call, then the SIM works with your phone.

    THEN, you need to set up APN.
    Softbank does not provide APN easily.
    It is much easier to set up APN with a SIM compatible with NTT Docomo frequencies, wuch as Rakuten Mobile、Line Mobile, OCS Mobile, Nuro Mobile, HIS Mobile etc.
    Avoid any SIM which uses Softbank or KDDI au cellular frequencies.

    [Reply]

  • Rose

    Thank you so much for your feedback!! I wanted to inform you all that Y! Mobile worked for me, without having to set up an APN. Even though they belong to Softbank. When they put in the sim card it worked right away and I could get data unlike before. If any issues come up I will come back here. Thank you so much!

    [Reply]

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