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CrossedSignals

Recent (12/2017) Japan roaming experience

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I just returned from a business trip to Japan and have some interesting things to report regarding Sprint international roaming on SoftBank.  I'm a BYOD customer (aka 1 year free) and therefore my expectations were that I would receive throttled (2G speed data) with the option to purchase 'high speed' data on a daily or weekly basis as needed.  On landing and turning on my phone, I received the usual SMS messages welcoming me to Japan and noting rates for calls and texts.  However, I also received a message "High-speed data included at no additional cost on this trip!"  Hmm...  exciting.

My trip kept me in downtown Tokyo with a diversion to Yokohama for lunch one day.  I definitely did not venture outside urban areas and therefore my experience is not representative as a testimony for the network throughout Japan.  In both cities I can attest the network is very dense and I don't recall having a low signal situation anywhere.

I was able to use the service just as I use Sprint in the U.S.  On my iPhone 6, the hotspot worked great and the speeds were excellent.  Towards the end of my trip, I did some speedtests (photos attached) at my hotel and at Haneda airport, connecting to Band 1 and 3.  I never did see an instance where I connected to band 41 (but then again I don't have the benefit of SCP and wasn't running around with the field test mode going all the time).  I was surprised at the ping times and played around with the servers on speedtest to try and see if there were any changes (nothing) and as you can see whether it was band 1 or 3, downtown Tokyo or the airport, pings were consistently in the ~300ms range (by way of reference the hotel wifi was ~4ms (assume fiber)).

Overall it was impressive and considering the usual cost of roaming, the experience was excellent. 

IMG_0046.PNG

IMG_0042.PNG

IMG_0041.PNG

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I have the speedtest screen shots but am not able to upload due to size.  To save you the agony of knowing the speeds:

Test 1:  Tokyo 6:16am:  Ping 347ms; DL 18.2Mbps UL 18.31Mbps

Test 2:  8:54am Haneda Airport:  Ping 358ms; DL:  48.05Mbps; UL:  24.01Mbps

Test 3:  5:48AM Tokyo:  Ping:  328; DL29.35; UL19.32

Edited by CrossedSignals
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11 minutes ago, CrossedSignals said:

I have the speedtest screen shots but am not able to upload due to size

Maybe try uploading to imgur and linking them here. It’s free. 

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1 minute ago, RAvirani said:

Maybe try uploading to imgur and linking them here. It’s free. 

I'll try that.

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1 hour ago, CrossedSignals said:

I just returned from a business trip to Japan and have some interesting things to report regarding Sprint international roaming on SoftBank.  I'm a BYOD customer (aka 1 year free) and therefore my expectations were that I would receive throttled (2G speed data) with the option to purchase 'high speed' data on a daily or weekly basis as needed.  On landing and turning on my phone, I received the usual SMS messages welcoming me to Japan and noting rates for calls and texts.  However, I also received a message "High-speed data included at no additional cost on this trip!"  Hmm...  exciting.

My trip kept me in downtown Tokyo with a diversion to Yokohama for lunch one day.  I definitely did not venture outside urban areas and therefore my experience is not representative as a testimony for the network throughout Japan.  In both cities I can attest the network is very dense and I don't recall having a low signal situation anywhere.

I was able to use the service just as I use Sprint in the U.S.  On my iPhone 6, the hotspot worked great and the speeds were excellent.  Towards the end of my trip, I did some speedtests (photos attached) at my hotel and at Haneda airport, connecting to Band 1 and 3.  I never did see an instance where I connected to band 41 (but then again I don't have the benefit of SCP and wasn't running around with the field test mode going all the time).  I was surprised at the ping times and played around with the servers on speedtest to try and see if there were any changes (nothing) and as you can see whether it was band 1 or 3, downtown Tokyo or the airport, pings were consistently in the ~300ms range (by way of reference the hotel wifi was ~4ms (assume fiber)).

Overall it was impressive and considering the usual cost of roaming, the experience was excellent. 

IMG_0046.PNG

IMG_0042.PNG

IMG_0041.PNG

Ping times are high because your data is rerouted through Sprint's servers in the US. T-Mobile does the same thing, even if you high speed data you end up with a high ping because it goes through the US. That's in advantage in places like China that have censorship because it means you can access sites that are normally blocked.

 

Thomas

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Very cool. Anyone think of an explanation for the free LTE data? 

Were you planning on buying the high speed pass had it not been included anyway?

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The week before Thanksgiving, I was in Osaka for work and received that same text about free high speed data when I was there. I was expecting to have to pay for the week pass for LTE.

Service was solid around Osaka and Kyoto as well.

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On 12/21/2017 at 9:29 PM, Thomas L. said:

Ping times are high

Thanks for the reminder.  I forgot about the fact that the connection is a quasi VPN back to Sprint and therefore pings suffer. 

Edited by CrossedSignals

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On 12/22/2017 at 8:47 AM, burnout8488 said:

Very cool. Anyone think of an explanation for the free LTE data? 

Were you planning on buying the high speed pass had it not been included anyway?

I would have purchased the high speed data as my company would have reimbursed me for the charge.  I do think that with AT&T and VZW doing the $10/day to use home rate plan undercuts the value of the $5/day or $25/week offerings from Sprint (and I think T-Mo).  As it was, I used about 850Mb of data (mainly for the speed tests) while I was there.

The other nice service was Wi-fi calling.  I was on a boatload of conference calls back to the U.S. and as of today I had one minute ($.20) of international calling.  That was probably more valuable than the high speed data in my case.

Edited by CrossedSignals

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This is helpful information. I am traveling overseas to Asia in summer next year and have a 1 day layover in Japan. Will probably see our Tokyo office while i'm there. 

Does Sprint charge you for calls and texts but data is free up to 1Gig?

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On 12/28/2017 at 1:41 PM, mnjeepmale said:

This is helpful information. I am traveling overseas to Asia in summer next year and have a 1 day layover in Japan. Will probably see our Tokyo office while i'm there. 

Does Sprint charge you for calls and texts but data is free up to 1Gig?

Calls are $ .20/min (free on wifi), texts are free and as far as I know there isn't a limitation on data.  It's somewhat confusing given the $5/Month Japan roaming option.  It would appear that the roaming option would net you free voice calls and not sure what else.

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I was in the Nagoya area between Christmas and New Year's with my Project Fi Pixel 2 XL. Stayed connected to Softbank LTE the entire time, and to multiple bands (I remember seeing 1, 8 and 41 on SignalCheck Pro) while in Nagoya, Kyoto for a half day, and Tokyo to catch my flight back to the states. This includes solid connection underground and in the subways. Never did a speedtest, but whenever I needed to use the phone, speeds were excellent. Signal was also great on the Shinkansen (bullet train) between Nagoya and Kyoto and Nagoya and Tokyo.

My work iPhone (AT&T) roamed on either AU (KDDI) or Docomo, and also stayed on LTE the entire time. And again, solid connection underground, in subways, and on the Shinkansen.

Back when I was in Japan in September, I had a Nexus 6p (also on Project Fi), and that phone varied connection between Softbank and Docomo. If I remember correctly back then, my phone was connected more to Docomo than Softbank.

Overall, great network infrastructure in Japan. I've been on Project Fi since October 2015 (switched from Sprint), and it's so nice traveling overseas with no extra charge for high speed data (and I've been to many overseas locations in both Asia and Europe since switching).

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    • Hummmn, they are still using the old nTelos SID on 1x.
    • Don't know.  I was barreling down the highway at the time I took the picture, and I don't usually do speed tests anyway.  But considering the available speed used to be zero, I'm going to say it's decent, sure. On my way home today, I'm going to take a long route to check on some more sites I don't usually go by.  Expect the Premiere map to fill in some after I get home.  (Also, I'm amused that with yesterday's update to the Sprint coverage map, the Red House tower that's on the air is now missing from the map along with the Hat Creek tower, while the Sugar Hill site that had no antennas two weeks ago is still present.) - Trip
    • Because you simply have to plug it in to a power outlet near a window. 
    • Except for a soft hand off to thw macro network. It can't do that, but other than that, there exactly the same. 
    • Because public WiFi has an ongoing maintance cost, plus the cost to set it up and properly isolate it from your network. The magic box is just easier. You aren't responsible for it. The magic box (via LTE) also has vastly superior QoS so that one person won't bog it down.

      My parents house is one place where a magic box works amazingly. Their only internet option is 3 mbps DSL. B26 only on phones, and that's upstairs only. The magic box latches on to b25 and provides 15-30 Mbps consistently. They actually use it now with a Sprint mobile broadband plan. For some people, the magic box is a better solution than an Airave or wifi calling (which won't work well on 3 mbps DSL if someone is using the internet). For businesses, it's a $0 cost, easy deployment to help customers. And they aren't responsible for what people do on it.

      Sent from my Pixel 2 XL using Tapatalk

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