Thursday, January 21, 2010

Docomo to push Android 2.0 update to HT-03a users, allow IMEI registration

UPDATE3: If anyone is still looking into this post for info on Docomo allowing IMEI registration, it obviously didn't happen and was likely related to the, at the time upcoming, gov't. discussion on mandating SIM unlocking. Better information can be found with the unlock label.

UPDATE2: see my most recent comment.
UPDATE: regarding IMEI registration, this post has some additional information.

Good things are coming from Docomo, according to some random shop employee.  Last night I had some business to take care of at a Docomo shop, and over the course of the visit, I got the impression that the guy behind the counter actually seemed to know what he was talking about.  So I started asking questions:

The Questions

  • When is the Sony Ericsson Xperia going to be available?
  • Will HT-03a users get Android 2.1 as an OTA update?
  • Is it true that non-Docomo phones (that don't have an IMEI registered with Docomo) cannot connect to the the biz-hodai (flat rate data) APN due to IMEI filtering?
The Answers

SE Xperia

March April, though it is still not currently listed as one of the upcoming phones, a press release (Thanks chyro!) announced the Xperia the same day I originally posted this.  It seems the delay is related to updating the UI to work with Android 2.0, as opposed to 1.6, which was the version originally slated for this phone.

Android 2.x on HT-03a

NO, HT-03a users will not get 2.1.  The next update will be 2.0 and it is scheduled to be pushed over the air in February.  It seems the reason to go with 2.0 is that the Xperia will also be running 2.0 (with a flashy GUI on top).

IMEI filtering/registration

NO COMMENT on filtering.
NO, Docomo will not register IMEIs now.
BUT, beginning in February or March of this year Docomo will begin allowing IMEI registration of unlocked, non-Docomo phones.  The employee said there was just a meeting where he was told about the coming change in IMEI registration policy.


  1. Docomo press release says Xperia comes in April. There's more details, photos, and it's the official website. Looking forward to it!

  2. Thanks for the link! Will update post.

    "The docomo Smartphone Xperia™ comes with POBox™ Touch 1.0, Sony Ericsson's unique predictive text-input system for Japanese and English. The phone intelligently predicts words and then highlights the next key for quicker, easier input."

    Sounds like the IME is going to be much better than the crap one on the HT-03a.

  3. Hi, consolidating some info I have been posting over at xda forums...

    Docomo are filtering IMEI on for non Docomo handsets. The Google N1 I shipped here will not connect to that APN (normally used for my HT-03a). As has been reported it does connect for about 15seconds to then cuts out.

    You can use it with a SB 'black' pakehodai SIM from an iPhone. But I don't know why you would want to.

    Curiosity got me comparing speed on SB vs. Docomo and I was surprised. Several friends in the Minato-ku area never get over 120kbps often only 80... my 'little' HT-03a never tests under 500kbs, usually around 1-1.5Mbps... Even if SB works performance is terrible!

    Lastly I have also heard that March is due to be the meeting date when the mobile phone companies may have to change their practices regarding handset portability and foreign registration o imported unlocked sets. Apparenty this has been in debate for years, and whilst my source was less optomisticabout an announcement or positive outcome, timing seems to align with the info given above.

  4. Hey, thanks for posting the info here!

    That is pretty interesting about the speed differences. If handsets to indeed become portable, then it will be fun to properly compare networks. Anecdotally, softbank's 3G network is sloooow. Be nice to know for sure.

    If you do find the original Japanese source for the March decision, pass it on. If this is the case, then you are probably right that Docomo sees the writing on the wall and is preparing for required portability.

  5. Humm IMEI filtering changes would be really good because im considering changing to softbank and Iphone because I currently have a Android Developer Phone 1 (HTC DREAM) and I can use internet but not Cap limit using apn ...

  6. How about softbank? will they allow anytime to use unlocked mobile?

    And Docomo when exactly will allow this?

  7. I think the claims of poor performance on Softbank are mythological. I have an unlocked HTC Magic on softbank's network, and according to I'm seeing speeds of 3.3mb/s down and 346k/s up. Unless you do a lot of uploading, this should be more than enough for whatever you want to do.

  8. "I'm seeing speeds of 3.3mb/s down and 346k/s up."

    If you are consistently getting that, that is great. Where are you located. What kind of rate do you get on wifi?

    I am thinking to have some friends run the speed test app every day for a week on the iphones and ht-03as and then compare at the end of the week. Got some friends around Japan. Would be an interesting start for comparison.

  9. vankirkc, by the way, how is that turning out with the silver SIM and the cap?

    I need definitive information about how this is working for people since I don't have an unlocked phone with which to try for myself. People are always asking me, so would be good to be sure.

  10. Any update on the HT-03A getting the 2.x update? we are nearing the end of Feb and have yet to see any other news on this and have not gotten an OTA update.

  11. I'm so confused... should I get the X10 next month or should I wait for the N1? =/ Opinions?

  12. Interesting vankirkc's comment about speeds on Softbank. I had had several people at different times in the Tokyo area run DSLReports Mobile speed test on their softbank iphones. They all reported a consistent mac of around 120kbits. Maybe there is a time of day or geographic component to it, or maybe the iphone sucks at that speed test compared to an HT-03a?

    Shops are getting the plastic models of the Sony in and it is physically - how can I put this - horrible. It is huge, thick with a rounded back, has sharp squared corners and it seems heavy. I think the Sony is a pocket-killer for sure, those corners and that weight are going to chew through pants pockets like butter...

  13. On my ht-03a, I typically get about 2.5 Mbps down and 750 Kbps up, regardless of whether I am using wifi of 3G with In fact, I've never gotten about 3 Mbps download on wifi or 3G. The only thing that changes dramatically is latency, which is around 100 - 150 ms on 3G but more like 50 ms on wifi. My notebook on my wifi gets nearly 40 Mbps up, 20 Mbps down and a < 20 ms ping.

    So, I am surprised at such a high download for vankirkc's result.

    It could be coincidence that I seem to max out at the same rates regardless of if I am using the 3G radio or wifi, though. I've also tried other routers, and always it coms out around 2.5 Mbps.

  14. Dear Vin,
    I bought the N1 from USA. I used google checkout with a very polite and serious seller.
    I got the phone in 5 days, without any problems 680$.
    It is up to you to decide which one to buy.
    Personally I hate the X10. Is big is not nice to see, the camera 8mp is useless (with a so small lens to have 5mp, 8mp or 12mp is not such a big difference), is still with android 1.6 (too slow the development), the plastics are not good quality.
    The N1 is really nice, the size is perfect on your hand, material are good, the screen is fantastic, but the most important thing is google experience (this means that you will always get the latest updates!
    This is my personal point of view. Oh yes, remember that if you buy from USA I am not sure if you get the warranty!
    All bests

  15. Hey Guys,

    Has this happened, if so what is the process? I bought a Desire in Taiwan and I can't use it with my DoCoMo SIM. The ability to register it would be great.


  16. Not as far as I know I myself am eagerly waiting so I can get a different Android phone on Docomo. I was hopping this summer would have some better offerings but sadly the Summer offering look pretty poor.

  17. Thanks Matteo. =) Since I found out about the Desire tho... I think that's the phone I'll B getting. However F'n Softbank has postponed release TWICE! I went in at the end of April and they told me it got pushed back to the end of May (about now). I went into the store last weekend and they told me that it got pushed back again to the end of June!!! I want to choke someone at Softbank!!!

    @Zebble: Out of curiosity... how much did ya pay for the Desire? I have a friend living in Taiwan now, and if U could point me in the direction of where U got yours, that'd B totally sweet!

  18. My wife ordered mine online ~4/30, called today and was told they have no idea when it will arrive. Just "we'll email you when it's available". From what I've read online, looks like HTC is releasing these in many markets, demand is outstripping supply and supposedly there are also part shortages (Samsung OLED display). HTC also just released the Incredible in the US with I believe the same display and the same story (selling out). Desire's a great phone but also getting tired of waiting.

    Re the N1, if you're near Tokyo there's a store in Akihabara that had an N1 on Monday. I think the price was 68000 but don't quote me. Nice store with lots of accessories for the N1 and a few for the Desire. Good luck :)

  19. @ Gern: Thanks for the info. It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one suffering. =P I'm no where near Tokyo...

    I sent out a status update on FB asking all my friends throughout Japan to go to their local softbank and check for the Desire. Only one friend responded =( he said that HIS softbank rep told him that it'll B out in JULY at the earliest!!! This is seriously pissing me off!

    I stared to check my options and I remembered that I have a friend that does a lot of business in China. His brother deals in cell phones and he said that he could get me a Desire for $459 USD. It's the UK version. That should work here in Japan right? Should I go w/ this... I'm worried that I won't B able to get the insurance plan w/ SB cause I didn't buy it from them, so if I break it by accident... no replacements! What to do what to do...

  20. Got my Desire in Taipei - there's a big electronic's center(seems to be the only one in town, my GF took me), I paid about 60,000 and got a spare battery, screen guard, 2GB micro SD free.

    Very impressed with the phone itself. But is not worth buying it outside a carrier, I have tried several SIM(softbank, NTT, Au), and haven't had any luck getting 3G to work.

    Does anyone know if I root it, will I be able to change IMEI? Just want to set it to the same one as my blackberry(and stop using the BB), so I can use the 3g network. Or are there any other network that allow any IMEI in Japan?

  21. Changing the IMEI is illegal in most countries but if you find a way to do it post it here I would love to get a desire working on Docomo. Docomo uses IMEI filtering for now but maybe not for long.

  22. Data only SIM (no voice)

    This is specific to the N1 but is also applicable to the Desire or any other smart phone.

    It will work with Softbank, but be very careful.

    I believe that IMEI spoofing is illegal in many countries, though I am not sure about Japan. Worldwide, the overwhelming reason people try and change IMEI numbers is because the phone is stolen. So, the people with the technical knowledge to change IMEIs refuse to help people publicly do it.

  23. Actually, don't post it here. Email it to me ;-)

    If it is NOT illegal in Japan, then it is something we could consider looking into, but I don't want to be responsible for helping people get their stolen phones working again.

  24. Yep I've no intention on using it on a stolen phone. But I guess anyone could say that. Just don't want want my 50,000Y to go down the drain because I bought a phone in Taiwan :)

    The data only sim might be an option. Does anyone know if 300pkts/s is enough for skype? I want it mainly for data, and the occasional skype call would be good.

  25. Obviously, us guys in Japan have indeed legitimate reasons to want to spoof and IMEI. Let's hope that at some point this year, it will become a non-issue.

    See the info here on b-mobile throttling streams.

    Technically a symmetrical 90 kbps connection is enough (according to US-based vonage) for voip. I've used a symmetrical 300 kbps connection in the US for voip. BUT, b-mobile throttles streams after "a few minutes". I've only talked with someone who was using the pre-release b-mobile SIM about this, and according to this source, it wasn't usable for voip.

    Since b-mobile is buying bandwidth from docomo and reselling it in an "unlimited" plan, they need to put restrictions in place so they don't end up paying docomo more money that they bring in from customers.

    Some readers are wanting a "limited" pay as you go plan that allows streaming from b-mobile.

  26. Just bought a 1 month B-Mobile SIM to see what it is like. My needs are pretty simple anyway, mail & VOIP. If it can do that well enough I'll be happy.

  27. I'm using the b-mobile sim on a HTC Hero (upgraded to Android 2.1 with Villain rom 6.2). No problem with emails but dont expect too much on VOIP, the speed is limited to 300kbps

  28. Interesting - web browsing etc work great. Skype is terrible, but I kinda expected that, SIP might work better for me, but I will figure that out.

    @ellitab, on 2.1 one are you able to get the signal bars to show up? And how did you stop the annoying network selection dialogue box coming up every few minutes when you can't actually select a voice network?



  29. no signal bar, it's normal and I think everyone using this sim has the same issue. I dont have the popup anymore but I'm not sure how and when it went away. Just dont bother opening the network selection menu, you should not have the popup.
    Starting my second month with this sim, quite satisfied but it would be great to be able to register for voice calls too... I had to send my stats to the owner of this blog but I lost it in a wipe of the phone. I'll try to rebuild some data so we can give a better feedback on the performances of this SIM. Used it in tethering last week also and it worked ok

  30. Docomo still isn't sure to do so.
    They might update, but still testing to make sure there is no bug with 2.1

    Source: Docomo employee with ht-03a

  31. Hahaha after waiting almost 10 months for this update, docomo finally get their website ready to tell so-01b users how to update. They place a time restriction on the day, being 18:00. Many docomo users who have been waiting flash their phones on the 10th and brick them. I also turned mine into the Xbrickia. On going to the docomo shop I had to wait 20 minutes for a reset attempt which I had been trying all day. I failed as did they and was given a new handset which I had to flash as well. I of course had a good look with ubuntu before and after flashing and managed to flash it on 2nd attempt through a winxp VM. Must say it was worth it, makes the handset a lot faster.

    Fabtastic business model , as I am sure they had to replace a load of SO-01B handsets but what do you expect in Japan, professional planned sensible approach??

    So after much rejoicing to have android 2.x, I quickly discovered it was partially pointless in my case. PDAnet works over bluetooth now!!!! Yay!!! Next go to get skype as it only runs on 2.1 or higher, only to discover that skype for android is NOT available in China and Japan. #FAIL####EPIC####FAIL. I found a freeware version for SO-01B however this will be isntalled in my android vm before it goes anywhere near my shiny new handset minus user data and phonebook.

    Thanks Docomo but you still kick softbank's ass into touch

  32. Actually you can find the skype APK online if you look but it is pretty much crap in it's current state. There is no way to exit and not have it run in the background. Only logout then you need to enter your username and PW everytime if you do that.

  33. Thanks man!! Actually I found it and didn't bother with it yet. I want skype lite back. Funny the android update caused so much hassle at docomo and their service centres.