FP3 work in Japan?

The plot thickens…apparently band 19 is also a subset of band 26, meaning also the NTT which I am currently on should also work plus they also have band 3. So I guess what i’ll do is try my current sim and then if not switch to the other provider.

Wow this has been a rollercoaster of emotions :sweat_smile:


Just to say, I took my Fairphone 2 to Japan last year and with a wifi pocket router was able to make and receive calls on Whatsapp FB messenger etc. totally clearly. I didn’t try actual phonecalls. J


I did not and do not know if you can just substitute a band if the (M/G)Hz is the same. I thought you could not but I’m not sure.

Please do remember the available frequencies don’t say everything. It also matters how good the coverage is, and where you (mostly) reside. For example, for me it is important I have coverage during my commute. In my previous commute I always had a part with no reception, and even though my provider nowadays has lower coverage than competitors (they used to be the best but we are still talking >90% of country) other providers have the same issue.

It could mean, that with your current provider (NTT), for example, they provide 2 high bandwidth frequencies which work very well for your use case. If you can afford the effort involved (time to test, possible effort to resell, money loss if fails) I recommend you try with your current provider (NTT) to see if it is suffice (you’d have band 1 and 3, so you don’t have the lower speed but higher coverage 700/800/900 bands), and if that does not work try Au indeed (as you’d have a lower frequency provided band 18 can use band 26).

Either way, thanks for going forth, and do report your findings :slight_smile: it is a way to contribute to the community be it other people in Japan or travelers or people considering going on a business trip etc etc.


Sorry I linked wrong Wikipedia earlier. (I won’t edit post as it might be confusing.)

The correct link is:

It does contain information about Japan.

I didn’t find it because I did Ctrl+F Japan.

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It was the information in Japanese that alerted me to the band being the same, but I also checked in English on Wikipedia:-

Link to wiki article:-


Also I think i’m going to be the guinea pig. Its a good cause. I’ll try sell it if it doesn’t work, id feel awful getting another brand without at least trying the FF.


When you posted about band 26 covering bands 18 and 19, I wanted to check and landed on the same page.
From that list, it in fact seems, that your estimation is correct.
It is not just the identical frequency, but it seems that in Japan the band 26 is split in 18 (lower) and 19 (upper) band. Uplink, downlink, duplex spacing and channel bandwidths all confirm this, not to mention that they are labled as subsets of band 26.

Still there is one point, that seems to be important. I is concerning the table “Deployment by region”:
While band 18 is said to work in “Japan (au)” and band 19 “Japan (NTT Docomo)” it is for band 26 “Japan (au)” only - via Multi Frequency Band Indicator (MFBI). NTT Docomo does not seem to have that MFBI.

So, according to the wiki-page, the FP3 will work with Au on band 18, not on band 19 with NTT docomo.
Insofar @JeroenH seems to be correct in general, that the “Subset”-thing alone is not enough.

And thx from me as well, if you wanna go forth giving it a try.


I got one more thing to add which might clarify a few things (or make it worse). It is not the Hz alone. On a certain spectrum, a certain protocol is spoken. The mentioned Hz is an approx; in fact it is a range. Now, say you got a (hypothetical) protocol called Cyantooth which is speaking on 2415 Hz (in fact, it is a range, but in this very situation it is 2415). If you then have a receiver which is able to receive 2415 Hz, but which cannot comprehend the Cyantooth protocol on the hardware level, what is going to happen with that data? AFAIK, your “computer” cannot use it; it is discarded. Which is the whole reason of SDR becoming more common, but that is not included on a smartphone. So what happens is that there are a bunch of transceivers, say A, B, and C, which each are able to transceive a bunch of ranges (say A can do 2400-2500, B can do 800-900, C can do 2100-2200). However, they must also speak the protocol on their chip, or the content is useless. Do I understand it correct, and have I explained it correct, or does anyone have anything to add to this?

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Jeroen that definitely didn’t make things clearer for me haha. But I think potentially it can work on AU :crossed_fingers: but i’m already using NTT docomo so I’ll check that as well and at least then I can confirm whether or not FF3 works on either. Hopefully it does work on NTT docomo as thats the provider that is touted at visitors/tourists if they want to use their own phone here in Japan. They say to get a visitor sim. Haha

Remember it isn’t a question of whether the smartphone will work or not. Based on the information above, the smartphone will work. The question is, will the reception be good enough for your situation (where you live, commute, work, etc)?

If AU is the provider which tourists go for, that is indeed likely to work :slight_smile: you got dual SIM as well, which is nice.

It is entirely possible sticking with NTT for time being, is “good enough”, and that you may consider switching to AU at some point.

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Ah, so I read this and I need to make sure the FF3 can support MFBI. So I guess I need to check that first. If it can i’m confident the reception will be good enough as i’ve checked the coverage areas and Japan is pretty well covered even in rural areas.

Sorry its only in Japanese but you can use google translate for the general gist (like I did).


@BertG mentioned MFBI above in this post. I would expect it to work with our smartphones (FP3), as the post is from 2014, but I am not sure the same is true for FP2

EDIT: If you look at my first post which lists the frequencies (as mentioned by Fairphone themselves) you can see overlaps with the same frequencies used by different technologies (2G, 3G, and 4G/LTE). I would not expect the smartphone has the same antennas for different technologies (often, the same antennas even speak say WLAN and Bluetooth). This suggests the protocols will be understood as long as the frequency is correct.

Now, the frequency is a range, and the different band (B18/B19) are sitting in approx the same range as B26. But the question is, is the antenna good enough to catch the offset of the B18/B19 range?

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I’m very interested in knowing how the FP3 is doing in Japan? Did you end up buying it?

Thanks for the feed-backs.

Read this article before I set off to Japan. Thought to just give it a try. Now touring in Japan with FP3 I installed data SIM from IIJmio and it works fine everywhere on 4G/LTE.


The FP1 worked well last year. Good to know the FP3 is maintaining a friendly relationship with Japan.


So I finally got my phone…BUT where I live the NTT docomo does not have sufficient coverage. Going to try an AU sim and see if it will work :crossed_fingers:
If it doesn’t i’ll try IIJmio and if it still doesn’t…i’ll cry :sweat_smile:


Great to hear, and I’ll keep my fingers crossed for you, that you find a good provider really soon!


Ah I take it back. It seems like only in my house it doesn’t work but outside it is fine on NTT. I’m debating on whether to change or not…coverage could be worse if I switch…


Do other phones work inside your house with an NTT sim? In that case it sounds like you’re indeed missing a low-frequency band as high frequencies have more trouble to pass through walls.

Wikipedia tells me IIJmio operates on the NTT network so it would not make much of a difference.

From the table in your post, I see that Y!Mobile supports band 8 at 900MHz, and from willmyphonework.net (which sadly only includes the FP1/2) I see that SoftBank supports 3G on 900MHz.

I don’t know whether those operators cover your area, but if they do they might be worth a try. Falling back to 3G inside your home would be less bad than getting disconnected entirely.