A telecommunications provider in Japan offering English-friendly services including SIM cards, Wi-Fi, and prepaid Japanese bank cards tailored for both travelers and international residents.
Launched in 1989, Mobal offers cellular and internet solutions to international travelers, digital nomads, and expats. Offering Japanese SIM cards (SIM with mobile number and data or data-only SIM), eSIMs, and Wi-Fi, they have become one of the leading providers for both tourists and foreign residents in Japan. Mobal uses both Softbank and DoCoMo, ensuring fast and reliable connections.
They offer a wide range of plans varying in duration and data limits, ensuring every customer can get exactly what they need. For short-term use—up to 90 days—they provide both data-only SIMs and SIMs with voice, text, and data included. For long-term residents in Japan, Mobal has several monthly plans that range from 1GB to 30GB of super-fast data. Their always-on service allows customers to stay connected even after they reach their plan’s limit. All long-stay plans include free incoming calls and texts, a Japanese phone number, and hotspot capabilities.
In addition to their physical SIM cards, Mobal also offers eSIMs and home/pocket Wi-Fi plans. Their tourist eSIMs are compatible with most smartphones and can be easily set up with an activation code. They are available for stays up to 31 days and can be purchased in 1GB, 5GB, 10GB, 30GB, or 50GB plans. Mobal Wi-Fi can either be used at home or as a portable Wi-Fi unit. With 100GB per month of ultra-fast internet connection and 12-hour battery life, it is perfect for streaming, uploading, and video calling. Initially, the unit comes with a three-month contract. When that ends, customers can renew on a month-by-month basis.
Mobal guarantees English-language customer support for all of their products, making troubleshooting a breeze. All products and services have fast activation or shipping times, so travelers and long-term international residents can avoid the stress of being stuck without service. Mobal also ensures that the majority of profits go to charity. Each product purchased helps to provide food, education, and job opportunities to people in Malawi.
Do Mobal SIM cards allow hotspot sharing through an iPhone?
Yes, you can tether on your iPhone with their SIM cards. However, additional setup may be required depending on the product you are using and so please be sure to check the support guides for your particular product: support.mobal.com
Can I pick up my SIM?
Yes! You can collect your SIM from their convenient collection points at airports and cities around Japan—completely free of charge. Simply choose your pick-up point when you add your product to the shopping cart.
What currency am I billed in?
All of your charges are billed in Japanese Yen (JPY).
Through their years of experience helping foreigners in Japan, Mobal noticed that people were facing another significant problem: it is extremely difficult to obtain a Japanese debit card. Japanese banks rarely service foreign customers and have hard-to-meet residency requirements. Despite this barrier, many services—including online stores—only accept Japanese-issued cards, making them completely inaccessible to foreign residents. This problem inspired Mobal to create MobalPay.
Powered by Mastercard, MobalPay is a prepaid Japanese payment card that can be used like a Japanese debit card, helping customers avoid exchange fees while having the freedom of a prepaid card. With no minimum residency requirement, no top-up or transaction fees, and English customer support, MobalPay is ideal for expats who would not be eligible for a Japanese debit card. It can be topped up with cash all over Japan, or through online bank transfer for those who have a Japanese bank account. As with other Mobal services, the majority of MobalPay’s profits are donated to charitable organizations.
Prepaid Payment Card in Japan: MobalPay Features and Benefits
What’s the difference between MobalPay and my Mastercard back home?Many foreign-issued cards are often not accepted in Japanese stores or on Japanese websites. Even on the rare occasion they are accepted, they often incur hefty fees.
Your MobalPay card is different. It’s a real, Japanese-issued Mastercard, so there are very few limitations. You can use it almost anywhere a Japanese Mastercard would be accepted. As it’s a prepaid card and not a bank account or cash card, you can’t get your salary paid into your MobalPay account or use your MobalPay card to withdraw cash from an ATM, but you can otherwise use it just like you’d use your own Mastercard back home.
How do I top up my account?
You can top up your MobalPay balance using cash at a convenience store, online bank transfer, using a cash card at an ATM, or using cash at an ATM. You can find detailed instructions for each of these at their support site.
How long will it take for my application to be approved?
If your ID is approved by their secure system, you’ll hear from them within one business day. You’ll then be able to top up your MobalPay account for the first time, which allows MobalPay to send your card straight to you.