With the rise of Voice-over-IP (VoIP) calling applications, pricey unlimited calling plans are becoming increasingly less popular. Use of VoIP can reduce overall costs for phone use domestically and especially internationally.
For the big three providers, there is an option for an Unlimited Talk Lite (calling free up to 5 minutes per call) plan to save JPY 1,000/month over the full unlimited, and low cost carriers often don’t offer unlimited plans at all (normally charging JPY 20/30 seconds for all outgoing calls). The following VoIP applications are popularly used to keep in contact with friends and family, and are completely free (of calling charges) when calling other users on the same app.
Talk to friends from Facebook, or as the advertising says “Messenger is the best way to communicate with all the people and businesses in the world.”
Popular in Japan and East Asia, LINE is a freeware app for instant communications on electronic devices such as smartphones, tablet computers and personal computers.
The most popular VoIP app worldwide. More than 1 billion people in over 180 countries use WhatsApp to stay in touch with friends and family, anytime and anywhere. WhatsApp is free and offers simple, secure, reliable messaging and calling.
Noted for high quality, Viber is an instant messaging and VoIP app for various mobile operating systems. Users can also exchange images, video and audio media messages.
VoIP apps may also be used to decrease the cost of domestic calls to fixed phone numbers for those without an unlimited calling contract. Skype tends to have better rates and call quality for calling fixed lines. Receiving calls domestically does not incur calling charges, so this would be preferential for outgoing calls. It may also be used for international calling whether you are traveling abroad or just calling someone overseas, with charges often around 100 times lower than international calling rates offered by Japanese mobile phone providers.
Stay in touch with family and friends with reduced priced international calling, free online calls, and HD video calls with an individual or a group of them!
Calling in Japan via Skype (5/2017)
Via Skype Credit
Monthly Plans (mobiles and landlines)
Calling Overseas via Skype (5/2017)
*supports calls to landlines in 63 destinations including Japan, and mobiles as well as landlines in an additional 8 destinations including the US, China, Hong Kong, and Singapore.
Please check the website for minute rates for other specific regions when calling via Skype credit. Be sure to prepare separate internet service when abroad to avoid data roaming charges, or confirm the availability and cost of using data in the country you will be traveling to with your mobile provider.
All logos courtesy of the respecitve company’s website, used without permission