Wednesday, April 28, 2010

B-mobile SIM confirmed working on G1 and Hero

And also reportedly working on the HTC Desire.

We've been helping a reader get his G1 working with B-Mobile, which was more difficult than expected, though B-Mobile's customer support was very helpful to our reader. (See here or the only post we made about this.) The G1 finally worked with the B-Mobile SIM after flashing an Android 2.1 ROM but would not connect with both Android 1.5 and 1.6. However, a commenter says that his HTC Hero is working with 1.5.

Based on chatter around Japan, it seems that there is indeed some issue with HTC's radio and Android 1.6 that is preventing it from working.

The reader with the G1 only tried one 1.5 ROM, which was dumped from the Japanese version of the Google Developer Day (GDD) phone, aka the ION (same hardware as the ht-03a). We figured, since B-Mobile officially supports the ION, and since they had been selling SIMs for the ION prior to announcing the USIM 300, that this ROM would work on the G1.

Here are two three things to watch out for:
  • Not being able to access the application Market - may need market enabler.
  • No 3G icon indicating that you are indeed connected
  • An error message saying "Your SIM card does not allow a connection to this network"
Beginning with the latter, the commenter said that services like location need network registration to work. This means that you'll need to rely on GPS alone for determining your position. If you use the weather widget we recommended, it will only serve you locally based information if you turn on GPS, a real battery drainer.

As for the 3G icon, I am guessing this is also due to not being registered on Docomo's network. Further guessing leads me to believe that this is due to the presumed IMEI filtering done by Docomo that prevents non-branded handsets from being used for data. As far as I can tell, the only handsets that B-Mobile officially supports are ones that were originally sold by Docomo or Wilcom, an MVNO like B-Mobile that uses Docomo's network. Aside from the ION of course.

Due to the lack of the 3G icon, our reader's G1 actually connected just fine with the B-Mobile SIM, but he didn't know it until customer support sent him an email:
Your b-bmobile SIM successfully connected on April 22. The last connection it made at 15:20 on April 24.
This is the time when he had the 2.1 based ROM installed. After April 24, he decided to flash the 1.5 ROM since he thought the phone wasn't connecting due to the lack of the 3G icon.

Here are the details for the G1:


  1. Hi guys,

    just to let you know I tested the Hero updated with VillainROM 5.4 (so android 2.1) and the b-mobile connection. Works fine, same problem to register with Docomo network.
    I had a problem to send mail with Gmail app before (modaco 3.2) and it looks like it's fixed now.

    Besides that I reported some problem with the location service before. As expected, I can get a location using the GPS only. So don't expect to get any location from inside a building for example.

    I am running some speed tests (, very good app by the way) from this morning and the results are very close to the advertised 300kbps. I am waiting to have more data and I will post on this forum.

  2. Thanks for the info.
    Have you had any trouble seeing the market?

  3. No actually the market works just fine, downloaded two apps (including speedtest) to test.
    I could even start a youtube video but did not check if it could play entirely.

  4. Hi,

    b-mobile SIM doesn't only work on docomo devices, it is not locked in to the network in that way. (Although it does only offically support devices with the correct Japanese certifications).

    My understanding is that the "no 3G symbol" and other niggles are caused between the radio and the host network (DCM). The b-mobile SIM SIM card is purely "data only". This means it is purely for packet transfer. It does not have a circuit switch component (SMS, voice etc). As most SIMs (even data only ones) will have SMS at least, certain features on devices (such as displaying "3G" symbols can require a circuit switched attachment.

    Therefore, on some devices b-mobile SIM works as per any carrier SIM, and on others there can be minor differences such as the "3G" icon issue above.

  5. Hey, thanks for the great information again. If you keeping posting, I might just learn something. :-)

  6. thanks for the information, makes sense. I tried to put a normal foma sim into my HTC Hero and I could make phone calls (3G icon ok etc...) so I figured there is no IMEI filtering from docomo.
    Question: is the circuit switch component a HW part into the SIM or just an option to enable from b-mobile/Docomo side?

    I'm looking forward b-mobile to become a real mvno like we have in France, with voice and data prepaid plans.
    I've been using the b-mobile sim for about 10 days now and I'm very satisfied with the 300kbps limit so far. I will post some stats soon about speed.

  7. Glad to hear it is working good - looking forward to your info. If you don't mind email to me and I'll make a post with it. Feel free to add any comments and I'll also add those to the post as well.

    As for IMEI filtering, Docomo is preventing non-docomo handsets from being used with a FOMA SIM on the bizhoudai APN. So there is some sort of filtering going on. You can access the uncapped APN on a non-docomo handset, but that would result in a $1000+ data bill very quickly.

    After reading these comments and thinking about, what I said in the post doesn't make sense, since the filtering is done only for the bizhoudai APN. My Japanese reading ability is well ahead of my understanding of mobile infrastructure ;-)

  8. It seems that Softbank will sell the iPad in Japan. So hope might have gone down the creek that the SIM card market will break free soon?

  9. Big Al, thanks for the tip.

    You can read more about what I think it means on the above post/rant. How many WTF Apple moments can you have in one month? Apple said the thing would be unlocked.

  10. My HTC Hero starts in Airplane mode, and constantly reboots when using the b-mobile sim.
    The menu to select operator is greyed out.

    Oh well, so much for using mobile internet while in Japan.

    I have HBOOT-1.76.0007

    I also have the latest stock Android for the device, which looks like it is 2.1-update1 (Firmware version from the Software information menu)

  11. Also how can I activate the card, the number on the box just tells me to enable caller id.
    I guess I should call with my b-mobile sim card (which doesn't work).

  12. Hi, sorry for commenting on such an old post, but I really have exhausted all options I can think of. I'm in Japan with a HTC Desire S right now, on the bmobile u300 SIM (data only, 300k cap). I found this sim through this site (awesome site btw, keep it up). I tried it and got it working on my n900 - but when I tried it on the HTC desire S, I got the "Your SIM card does not allow a connection to this network"

    I scoured google until I landed on... this site again! So I decided to post here. Apologies if you think this is not relevant. But do y ou think the IMEI blocking on DOCOMO is still on? I got the HTC desire S from Taipei.

  13. Did it actually connect? It may actually be working, even if it is throwing up error messages. This is so long ago I don't really remember the details. Have you tried different ROMs?

    Docomo is still blocking IMEIs from the cheap data plan.

    I'll try and ask @elliatab

  14. SBSDroid, elliatab,

    sorry for replying earlier. I didn't realize you guys have replied (thought I'd get notification on my mail). I've decided to give this a go one more time - and went googling and stumbled on ... this site again !! hahaha~~

    I've set the APN OK, I can connect using my old phone, the nokia n900, but I can't connect it using my desire S.

    It couldn't latch to NTT docomo, it just gave me this "Your SIM card does not allow a connection to this network" when I tried. Desire S is running 2.3 gingerbread. So if I insert the SIM in, there is no network operator. I'm gonna get the FAIR 1Gb SIM today and see if it can make a difference.

    I think I needed to firstly connect to the network, once I'm in, the APN will allow me to use the data facility of the network. But I can't even establish a connection to the network, so in my mind I'm not even at the stage where the APN details will be useful. [it goes radio -> data, i'm still at radio stage]

    have u guys any idea as to why the phone won't work? I might give up and buy a new phone at around feb/march next year. =(
    waaarghhhh *tearing my hair out*

  15. Can't really give you an idea why it won't work, but if the U300 doesn't work, don't expect anything to be different with a FAIR SIM. I'd suggest going to yodobashi akiba this weekend. They have a corner (near emobile I think) where you can try the SIM out before buying.

    Check the big bmobile SIM post for comments and troubleshooting - it's linked at the top of the sidebar. There was some interesting stuff going on with motorola phones that might steer you in the correct direction, or at least give you other things to think about. However I seriously doubt that you desire is having the same problem.

    You are sure it is unlocked?

  16. Hi SBSDroid thx I didnt know about the yodobashi akiba (you can try the SIM there - awesome)

    yes im sure its unlocked. when I pop in my softbank sim to my phone it can make phone calls etc, but the softbank sim is provided by the company I work for, which is why I dont want to try the softbank apn trick. So it just wont connect into the docomo foma for the usim.

    But personally I just need a sim that can work with my phone so the yodobashi thing is a great idea. Is it only in Yodobashi akiba?