LINEMO: A Low-Cost SIM Card for Foreign Residents with Easy Online Application

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LINEMO is an affordable SIM card (*online only) that can be used in as little as two days after submitting an online application! This low-cost service has English guidance, making it perfect for non-Japanese speakers looking to save money. Learn more about LINEMO's features and how to apply!

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Ideal for Non-Japanese Speakers! All About the Affordable SIM Card LINEMO


Photo by MATCHA

While living in Japan may be full of excitement, there can be situations where anxiety and problems can arise.

In particular, smartphones are indispensable for daily life in Japan but offer a wide variety of services with little information in foreign languages. If you've had this experience, please consider applying for LINEMO.

LINEMO is a low-cost SIM service that can be used in as little as two days after completing an online application. It has many features that foreign residents of Japan will appreciate, including a basic monthly fee of 990 yen (including tax) for 3GB (*1) and sufficient English explanations.

This article offers a detailed explanation of LINEMO and its services!

Check LINEMO's Official Website (English)

Check LINEMO's Official Website (Japanese)

*1) For users registered in the Mini Plan, the network speed ​​may be controlled depending on the time of day. Call charges are pay-as-you-go basis (22 yen/30 seconds). There are phone numbers with different rates, such as Navi Dial (phone numbers starting with "0570").

Four Reasons to Use LINEMO


Picture courtesy of LINEMO's Official Website

LINEMO has an eye-catching green logo and an adorable monkey mascot. This popular service is used by many people, both Japanese and foreign residents alike.

Below, we'll introduce four reasons for the popularity of the SIM card service.

1. Complete the Application Online! Access the English Website

When applying for a cheap SIM card or a smartphone in Japan, you may have to visit a mobile store and speak to the staff in Japanese.

However, the application with LINEMO can only be completed online. This eliminates the cost of money and time, including paying for transportation or traveling to the shop.

The application form is only available in Japanese but there is an English explanation of its content. Even if you are not confident in your English and Japanese skills, you can slowly complete the application with your smartphone or computer using Google Translate.

2. Start Using Smartphone in as Little as Two Days

One reason behind LINEMO's popularity is that users can use their smartphone as early as two days after applying.

After completing the application, insert the SIM card you received in the mail into your smartphone and follow a few simple steps to use it immediately!

3. Secure SoftBank Internet Connection and 5G Network!

LINEMO is a service launched in March 2021 by SoftBank, one of Japan's major telecom carriers. Users can rest assured of the security that only an established company can provide.

Additionally, internet connection and telecommunication lines are available throughout Japan in areas served by SoftBank. This includes 5G network services, ensuring smooth communication (*2).

*2) Limited to SoftBank service areas. The network speed ​​may be controlled depending on the time of day.
*2) High-speed, large-capacity 5G (the leading cellular network) is provided in limited areas.
*2) 5G is only available on LINEMO using the NSA mode (non-standalone).

4. Unlimited Use of the Popular LINE App

LINEMO offers LINE Giga Free, allowing unlimited use of the popular messenger app LINE in Japan with zero data consumption.

Even after your prescribed data amount is used up, you can smoothly exchange messages, voice calls, video calls, and send and receive images or videos on LINE (*3).

Since LINE can be used internationally, you can make unlimited calls without incurring calling fees if family and friends in your home country download the LINE app.

For those wondering what kind of app LINE is, please check out the Q&A at the end of the article.

*3) Some items are not eligible for LINE Giga Free.

What Rates and Data Volume Does LINEMO Offer?


Photo by MATCHA

Japanese smartphone services are often confusing given the various types of data plans.

In this respect, LINEMO offers two simple plans: the Mini Plan starting with a monthly basic fee of 990 yen (tax included), and Smartphone Plan with a monthly basic fee starting at 2,728 yen (tax included).

Both plans are compatible with LINE Giga Free. In contrast, there are differences in the data amount and communication speeds after exceeding the prescribed usage amount. Please consider the amount of data you use regularly.

    Service Mini Plan Smartphone Plan
  • Data Amount
  • 3GB 20GB
  • Basic Monthly Fee
  • 990 yen with tax 2,728 yen with tax
  • LINE Giga Free
  • Available Available
  • Speed After Exceeding Data Limit
  • 300kbps 1Mbps

Calling Options

With LINEMO, calls are charged on a pay-as-you-go basis (22 yen/30 seconds including tax). However, there are options for free domestic calls up to five minutes per call for 550 yen (tax included) per month and free calls for any length of time for 1,650 yen (tax included) per month (*4).

*4) Some phone numbers are not eligible for free calls, such as Navi Dial (phone numbers starting with "0570"). The rates for international calls also vary.

There Are Special Campaigns!


Picture courtesy of LINEMO's Official Website

LINEMO also offers special campaigns with great deals!

As of April 2023, new subscribers of the "Mini Plan" and "Smartphone Plan" can make free calls within Japan for up to five minutes (usually 550 yen including tax per month) for one year (*5). You can take advantage of the Call Option Discount Campaign (*6).

*5) The discount does not apply to months when users are not subscribed to the semi-flat-rate or flat-rate calling option. The discount application includes the period when you do not subscribe to the option.

*6) Some calls are not covered by the flat rate. If you are already using LINEMO and sign up for this option or apply to cancel it mid-month, the flat rate will be applied from the next billing month. If you cancel the contract line, the monthly charge for this option will not be calculated on a per diem basis. A call charge of 22 yen (tax included) per 30 seconds will be charged separately for domestic calls that exceed five minutes per call with a semi-flat rate.

How to Apply for LINEMO


Picture courtesy of LINEMO's Official Website

When applying for LINEMO, the application form is only available in Japanese, but an English explanation is provided. Please check this explanation for details on how to apply.

Here are some items you should prepare in advance.

Main Required Items

The main items required in the application are listed below, so please check them before beginning the process.

Regarding a "phone number where you can be contacted," applicants can use their workplace, school, or family member's number. You may receive a phone call if there is a problem with your application, so please register a number where you can be reached.

- Nationality
- Full Name written in Katakana
- Gender
- Date of birth
- E-mail address where you can be contacted
- Telephone number where you can be reached
- Japanese address that matches the one on your Residence Card
- Who will use LINEMO?
- 4-digit network PIN
- Payment method (credit card payment or bank transfer)

What Items Should Be Prepared in Advance?

Applicants with residency status, such as study abroad students or temporary visitors in Japan, require the following three items.

Smartphone with SIM unlocked (*7)

*7) LINEMO does not rent or sell smartphone devices. You are required to prepare your own device. LINEMO is compatible with most mobile phones, but some models may not be suitable. Please check LINEMO's official website for details.

Residence card (*8)

Foreign passport (*9)

*8) If the surname and address on your residence card or foreign passport are not up-to-date, you are required to provide supporting documents (certificate of registered items in resident's card or utility bill receipts for electricity, gas, water, NHK broadcast reception fee, etc.).

*9) If you have a "permanent resident" status, you can apply with your residence card. If you are a "special permanent resident," you can apply with your “special permanent resident certificate.” However, if your surname and address are not up-to-date, please prepare the supporting documents listed above.

Check the Details on LINEMO's Official Website (English)

Check LINEMO's Official Website (Japanese)

Q&A: Learn More About LINEMO!


Photo by MATCHA

Lastly, here is our Q&A about LINEMO. Please read it before signing a contract to deepen your knowledge about LINEMO's services.

Q1) What kind of people use this service?

LINEMO is used by many people, including Japanese and foreign residents alike.

Since there is no minimum usage period or penalty for canceling at any time, many foreigners staying in Japan for a limited period use this service. This includes study abroad students and workers.

Q2) What is the LINE Messaging App?

LINE is a messaging app that allows you to send messages, voice calls, video calls, and exchange images and videos. This popular app used by many in Japan is similar to WeChat and Zalo.

In addition to Japan, LINE is a hit in Taiwan and Thailand. With the exception of some regions, it can also be downloaded and used in other countries.

Save Money with a Low-Cost Sim and Enjoy Living in Japan!

Upon arriving in Japan, you'll want to enjoy shopping and experience various activities while studying or working.

Take advantage of the affordable SIM offered by LINEMO to save money and secure a fulfilling life in Japan!

Check the Details on LINEMO's Official Website (English)

Check LINEMO's Official Website (Japanese)

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Main photo by MATCHA
Sponsored by LINEMO

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Tokyo, Japan

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