Which is better?
For years, I naturally assumed that the calling card was always the best way to go. To America, you got 500 minutes for 2000 yen (4 yen a minute). Sometime in the last year, this became 600 minutes for 2000 yen (3 1/3 yen a minute).
So, along with my regular toll call to Brastel’s Tokyo number, which could cost anywhere between about 16 yen and 25 yen, depending on my package, I was getting a call to America for somewhere between 20 and 30 yen a minute.
But the other day, I actually studied the nihongo dake ad that KDDI sent me in the box. It said that a call to America, all costs included, was 44 yen a minute. And that was just 2 yen more than the normal toll cost of 42 yen a minute within Japan. The implication is that if you are paying more than 2 yen a minute with your calling card, it is a way to save.
Now, obviously, if you don’t have the base package with KDDI, the math is more like the above. But what I didn’t realize is that unused calling time, the time you can’t carry over to the next month if you’ve built up an excess, can be used for the “Zero Zero Wonderful” benefit. So, in effect, those minutes cost you zero because you are going to lose the credit for that time anyway.
[Update: I did a graph of this. Based on L plan and LL plan for KDDI. If you notice, if you are a light user of your phone and primarily make international calls, at some point zero zero wonderful pays off. This includes times when you would be forfeiting minutes that you bought but can’t use and can’t carry over.
A heavy user would use Brastel. But if you fall into a lower range, then KDDI 001 makes sense.
A commenter below points out about Skype. But everyone knows about Skype and Skype’s limitations. So I am not even discussing it here.]