Thursday, April 15, 2010

Is the b-mobile SIM not compatible with Android 1.6 and higher?

EDIT: it should work with 1.6

A reader purchased a b-mobile USIM 300 but has been unable to get it working on his rooted and unlocked US T-Mobile G1. He is currently discussing the problem with the b-mobile help desk, and the support ticket is still open. According to the reader, b-mobile has been very receptive to his problems, and until this case is resolved, we won't know for sure if the SIM is truly unusable on v 1.6 a. However, in case any other readers are thinking about purchasing this product, I felt it was important to post this information. I mean, who is still running cupcake?

The supported handset page for b-mobile does not list the G1 or Hero. Both the Google developer phone and the Docomo HT-03a (HTC Magic) are listed as supported but only if they are running Android v 1.5 (cupcake). When I read this after the product went on sale, I assumed it simply meant that the SIM had only be tested on cupcake, but now I am not so sure since our reader has confirmed that his phone is unlocked and has the correct APN settings.

Here are some excerpts from b-mobile support emails. If any readers have advice or thoughts on why the SIM would work with 1.5 but not 1.6, please leave a comment.

Our reader who is having the problem wrote the following:
Under the "Network Operators" menu on my phone, NTT DoCoMo and SoftBank are found, however if I try and connect to either of them it displays the error message "Your SIM card does not allow a connection to this network."
The response was to downgrade to v 1.5, which would of course void any warranty on the phone (APN details removed):
Thank you for contacting the b-mobile Helpdesk again

Please confirm again that you are using the X.X.X APN.

To check the APN network connection you are using
1. Press HOME MENU
2. Touch Settings.
3. Touch Wireless Controls> Mobile networks >
Network operators or Access Point Names.

If you can not connect that we think this problem concern with Android Ver1.6. Please inform what Android software version and base band firmware version.

Our product is fully compatible with Android version 1.5. If you have Android version 1.6 then Please downgrade 1.5 for use.

If you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to contact us here at the b-mobile Helpdesk.

We thank you for your continued support of b-mobile.


  1. I have a more general question on APNs, so sorry for maybe disturbing the topic. As I plan to buy the htc Desire In Germany soon, I tried to aks the Softbank staff in several stores for the APN (although I already know them, but I wanted to confirm that they are correct). Most of the people never "heard of such a thing", one guy called to the service center and told me that is was forbidden to share such information. One guy stated it was impossible to use other cell phone bodies than the ones bought directly from Softbank because of technical reasons and that the card is SIMlocked (what an *****).
    Anyway, why is the APN such a big secret, if b-mobile obviously just freely shares it. Does Docomo tell freely?

  2. Though I have never heard it confirmed from anyone at Docomo, everyone is certain that Docomo has locked down their APN by filtering out IMEIs of phones that are not purchased directly from Docomo.

    Softbank doesn't do this, but they also don't go out of their way to share the APN details, which are indeed all over the internet. For people wanting to use their phones on softbank, this is a good and bad thing. Good in that they can quickly find the proper APN settings; bad in that softbank apparently once changed all the APN settings because they had gotten all over the internet, leaving all the people not using softbank-banded phones high and dry until they figured out the APN settings again.

    As for B-mobile, they have no choice to give out APN details. Softbank and Docomo can preconfigure their handsets with the APNs because they are selling handsets. B-mobile sells only the SIM or 3G adapters for computers, requiring the customer to configure their own software. On top of that, b-mobile has only an online store, so the customers can't bring in their equipment and have it configured, even if they wanted to.

  3. Thank you for your reply. In case Softbank changes the APN, how are their genuine handsets updated then? Do they have such deep control over the OSs?

  4. Thanks for the link. So the big "problem" is that people use the phone for tethering... Let's hope that Docomo is making the rumor you heard of true as fast as possible. Then Softbank bye bye...

  5. Well, as you know, it is no longer a rumor, and according to the yomiuri, will be happening the end of this year. Exactly what happens and how it happens remains to be seen. If the yomiuri is correct, they aren't just going to start providing unlock codes for all existing phones but rather sell the winter 2010 lineup unlocked (or locked if the phone was subsidized - who knows).

    I could also see them doing something stupid (from our point of view) like only allowing phones purchased in Japan from Japanese carriers to be moved between networks. This would be fairly simple to do and would leave in place protection for the current business model.

    Docomo could simply keep it's IMEI filtering (that doesn't officially exist) and, just like MNP (mobile number portability) is done, when you bring your phone over from another carrier, you fill out a simple form that includes not only your existing phone number, but also your IMEI number. Docomo then registers both the phone's number and IMEI to their network.

    I hope they don't do something like this, but I would not be surprised in the least if they did.

  6. Then (unfortunately) the safest way would be to buy from Softbank and find a way to unlock it. Let's see how fast the guys in Taiwan are in doing their job... ;)

  7. I have found this... (Sorry my Japanese is not that good so I don't understand it all.. but from what I gather it looks like it is the menu optiosn to get the desire/N1 working?

  8. Yeah, that is a guy claiming to say he got it working. He put in bold to reboot the phone. Someone commented saying they couldn't connect even after a reboot. But then, the say person commented again saying he got it connected and thanks.