Sunday, May 9, 2010

WTF? Japanese iPad will be SIM LOCKED???!!!111

EDIT 6: Thanks to Durf, it is all clear now. When I read the FAQ, my mind just skipped over the part that said "in Japan." So, I read the FAQ as saying "you cannot use a micro-SIM card purchased overseas in the iPad," when it really said "you cannot use a micro-SIM card purchased overseas in the iPad in Japan." So you can use the damn thing with AT&T in the US, but only with softbank in Japan. I guess that settles this issue once and for all.

Now everyone, back to work.
EDIT 5: A commenter at mobile in Japan says the following:
I can confirm that the cut down b-mobile SIM works fine on US iPad 3G's. It says "No Connection" but works fine.
And Apple fixed the FAQ:
iPadは世界中のSIMカードに対応していますか?
Wi-Fi + 3Gモデルは、iPad向け3Gデータプランを提供しているソフトバンクのmicro-SIMカードに対応します。日本では、その他の国で購入したmicro-SIMカードをiPadで使うことはできません。

Does the iPad support world wide SIM cards and carriers?
The wifi + 3G model supports softbank's micro-SIM for the iPad. micro-SIMs purchased overseas cannot be used in the iPad.

国外でもiPadを使用できますか?
世界中どこでもWi-Fiホットスポットに接続できます。国際ローミングについては、ソフトバンクにご確認ください。

Can the iPad be used overseas?
The iPad can be used at wifi hotspots world wide. Contact softbank for information regarding international roaming.
Softbank and Apple are beginning to seem like a match made in heaven... or would that be hell?
EDIT 4: Reconfirming the first edit; time for a b-mobile SIM and a razor blade, though I can't say if there will be a conflict with b-mobile's SIM and the iPads baseband like there is with android devices running 1.6. I likely won't have time in the next few days to search the intertubes for instances of people getting iPhones to work with B-mobile's SIM, but if the iPhone's radio has no problems, then perhaps neither will the iPad's. But keep in mind that, as shown by HTC, the same radio may or may not work with different versions of a particular OS.

Oh yeah, and there is this interesting tidbit. Communications Minister Haraguchi imported an iPad from the US, only to realize the US version's wifi had not yet been certified for use in Japan. Personally, I like the guy, so I won't be too hard on him ;-) since he is pushing for unlocking phones in Japan.
EDIT 3: Apple now has an FAQ on the 3G iPad:
iPadは世界中のSIMカード、通信事業者に対応していますか?
Wi-Fi + 3Gモデルは、iPad向け3Gデータプランを提供している通信事業者のmicro-SIMカードを使用します。

Does the iPad support world wide SIM cards and carriers?
The 3G models accepts micro-SIM card from carriers offering 3G data plans for the iPad.
That answer kind of avoids answering the question. Another question implies that the iPad is indeed unlocked:
国外でもiPadを使用できますか?
世界中どこでもWi-Fiホットスポットに接続できます。3Gサービスを利用するには、現地の通信事業者からmicro-SIMカードとサービスを購入してください。国際ローミングについては、国内の通信事業者にご確認ください

Can the iPad be used overseas?
The iPad can connect to wi-fi hotspots worldwide. In order to use 3G overseas, service must be purchased from a local carrier. Please contact your domestic provider regarding international roaming.
HOWEVER, it is being reported that softbank stores are currently telling potential customers that the iPad IS LOCKED to softbank networks, prompting speculation whether the information on apple's site is a direct and incorrect translation of the US site, or if softbank is spewing misinformation.
EDIT 2: According to Asiajin, there are conflicting reports about if only the softbank version will be locked, or if versions from the Apple Store will also be locked.
EDIT: Sounds like it's time for an imported iPad, a B-mobile SIM, and a razor blade

So, the news is out and Softbank is offering the iPad in Japan (Thanks for the tip Big Al). Just a week ago, Yamada, the CEO of Docomo said they were preparing a micro SIM card for the iPad.

From Mainichi (full article pasted for archival):
NTTドコモ:iPad向けSIMカード販売へ

NTTドコモの山田隆持社長は28日の決算会見で、米アップルの新端末「iPad」向けにミニSIMカードを販売する方針を明らかにした。山田社長によると、米アップルが今年1月、「iPadはSIMロックフリーで発売したい」と表明していたことを受けて、準備を進めているという。iPadはすでに米国では発売されているが、日本国内では5月下旬に発売される予定。

ドコモはiPadを「高級ネットブック」と位置づけており、山田社長は「ミニSIMカードを入れてドコモの回線を使ってほしい」とした。決算発表では電子書籍やタブレットPCなど新たなデバイスとの連携強化の方針を打ち出している。

NTT Docomo revealed plans to sell a mini (sic) SIM for the iPad.

But it appears they not only lost out to softbank to sell them damn thing, but that it is going to be FREAKING SIM LOCKED. JUST TO BE CLEAR, I had no plans to buy one, even if it was offered by docomo.

Also from the mainichi (full article):
iPad:ソフトバンクが販売 4万8960円から

ソフトバンクモバイルは8日、米アップル社のマルチメディア携帯端末「iPad(アイパッド)」を28日から販売すると発表した。一部の直営店や家電量販店などで10日午前10時から予約を受け付ける。価格はメモリー16ギガバイトの場合、無線LAN(域内情報通信網)機能のみのタイプが4万8960円、携帯電話回線も利用できるタイプは5万8320円から。

アップルと日本国内での販売契約を結んだ。アイパッドの国内販売には、NTTドコモも強い意欲を示していたが、携帯電話端末「iPhone(アイフォーン)」販売でアップルとの関係を強固にしていたソフトバンクが契約獲得に成功した。

携帯電話回線でもインターネット通信できるタイプには、利用可能回線をソフトバンクに限定した「SIM(シム)ロック」をかける。

Softbank mobile announced on the 8th that they will be selling the iPad from the 28th...

Docomo expressed a strong desire to sell the iPad, but softbank, already with a firm relationship to Apple, succeeded in winning the contract. The 3G version will be SIM locked and only usable on softbanks network for mobile data.
So what about the agreement for SIM unlocking in Japan? According to the yomiuri, unlocking will only apply to handsets (is the iPad a handset?) sold from the end of 2010. More importantly, what happened to Job's announcement to the world that the iPad will be unlocked? Who knows.

APPLE RANT
I've been using Macs for years and think the Mac OS is simply the best OS for what I do. I know people in the open source community criticize Apple for "taking from the open source community and not giving back," but technically, Apple is not breaking open source licensing terms with their implementation of OS 10.

However, the iPhone OS is really starting to piss me off, especially with their latest developer agreement requiring iPhone apps to be developed on Apple's dev tools. It seems every week I am having a "WTF Apple?" moment. While we android users are a bit annoyed waiting for updates, there is no way in hell that I'll ever buy anything that runs the iPhone OS. And if this is the road map for where OS 10 is going, then I'll start working on my migration plans as soon as I hit the Publish button.
/APPLE RANT

Softbank is offering the wifi 16 GB version for ¥48,960 (24 payments of ¥2,220). The 16 GB 3G version has two prices:
  1. ¥61,920 (24 payments of ¥2,760) with a prepaid SIM
  2. ¥58,320 (24 payments of ¥2,430) with a 2-year data contract
Now this is going to piss some of you off - you must register a credit card to charge the prepaid SIM, according to Engadget Japan. Prices are also from Engadget, who didn't have any information on the 32 and 64 GB models. Yeah, they did, I just didn't see it.

Three data plans are offered:
  1. ¥1,510/charge for 100 MB of data (prepaid)
  2. ¥4,410/charge for 1 GB of data (prepaid)
  3. ¥2,910/month for unlimited data (2-year data contract)
So how does this compare to what is offered in the US? Not well at all.
  • The US version is unlocked.
  • The US 16 GB version costs $50 less with no data contract (according to today's exchange rate).
  • The softbank's cheaper, subsidized version (with the 2-year data contract) STILL costs about $10 more than the US version.
  • 3G version can only be purchased through softbank.
  • The US version can be theoretically used on other carrier's networks.
  • AT&T offers two data plans, neither of which require a contract and both of which are cheaper than softbank's.
Like I said, I didn't plan on buying one in the first place. I thought it may be a good thing for some of my family, but I am going to make sure that they don't intend to buy one under these conditions. Once the dust settles from the SIM unlocking decision, then we'll see where things stand.

You could bring one in from the US and try to use, as softbank's unlimited 3G data plan can be used with non-softbank devices. BUT, I would not recommend being the first person to try this out in case they change the APN details or actually begin trying to filter out non-softbank devices. I don't see why they would do this with the smart phones SIMs, but we are talking about a micro SIM here. Yeah, technically it is the same thing as a regular SIM, but who knows how things will be implemented.

I mean, Jeezus, I though the iPad was supposed to be this unlocked device you could use on any carrier's network...

More on SIM unlocking here.

29 comments:

  1. * Softbank sells the iPhone, im not surprised to see them move to sell the iPad. And Apple is probably happy to keep the same partner. No surprise, here
    * About SIM locks, I read recently http://mobileinjapan.com/2010/04/29/operators-will-decide-if-they-want-to-unlock-phones-says-government/ and honestly, again I'm not surprised.

    By the way, http://mobileinjapan.com/2010/05/08/softbank-reveals-ipad-and-3g-data-pricing-for-japan/ has information for the 32 & 64GB prices.

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  2. So, if they can offer 100MB for 1500yen, why do we pay 1050yen a month for a peasly 1.5MB on their mobile plans?

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  3. In case it's not clear, that's a rhetorical question :-)

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  4. Not being in the US, I am not sure exactly what is happening there, but I think some "analysts" (using the term lightly) think that AT&T threw apple a bone with a very well priced data plan for the iPad in exchange for an extension of exclusivity on the iPhone, e.g., no Verizon iPhone in the near future.

    If, and only if, that is true, I could see something similar happening here.

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  5. I really hope the cheap prices spill into the mobile phone sector in the long run. I'm in the market for a HTC Desire from Softbank, and neither of the available packet houdai plans are particularly attractive. I'm far from a heavy user, but it's really easy to hit 6MB in a month.

    Sorry, not sure why I'm complaining here. :-)

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  6. Seems like some fat rich Ojichan played out their relationship to some politicians meanwhile...

    I still want the htc Desire (had it in hands in Germany last week) but followed your advice and didn't buy it yet. Why can docomo not just finally offer a free SIMcard? I was so surprised to see how far behind Japan is in telecom contracts. Back home I could get the Desire with a full speed data flatrate for 1070 Yen per month. And a voice call flatrate with an upper limit of 6375 Yen to ALL networks.

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  7. It's probably good that you waited. If the article linked above is correct, by June at least we'll have an idea of what - if anything - is going to change. So if it seems like it'll be the status quo, then you might as well pick one up in Germany, I guess.

    Japan has always been much more expensive for telecommunications. That might never change.

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  8. time to register softbanksucks.com ...

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  9. This is messed up. Damn!

    Here's the updated story about the iPad 3G Japan SIM Lock:

    http://mobileinjapan.com/2010/05/10/apple-and-softbank-keep-ipad-sim-locked-in-japan/

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  10. Thanks for the comment - will update yet again.

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  11. EDIT 4: Reconfirming the first edit; time for a b-mobile SIM and a razor blade, though I can't say if there will be a conflict with b-mobile's SIM and the iPads baseband like there is with android devices running 1.6. I likely won't have time in the next few days to search the intertubes for instances of people getting iPhones to work with B-mobile's SIM, but if the iPhone's radio has no problems, then perhaps neither will the iPad's. But keep in mind that, as shown by HTC, the same radio may or may not work with different versions of a particular OS.

    Oh yeah, and there is this interesting tidbit. Communications Minister Haraguchi imported an iPad from the US, only to realize the US version's wifi had not yet been certified for use in Japan. Personally, I like the guy, so I won't be to hard on him ;-) since he is pushing for unlocking phones in Japan.

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  12. SincerelyDisappointedMay 10, 2010 at 9:22 PM

    Just tossing in another site that seems to confirm the SIM lock on Japan's iPads.

    http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9176468/Apple_to_SIM_lock_Japanese_iPads

    Quite a disappointment, however I'm not surprised. Although I am quite disappointed that Docomo had to bail on the iPad. Would like to have Docomo's coverage where I live. EMbobile isn't an option where I live, due to lack of coverage in my area.

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  13. I think that b-mobile SIM should work with iPad - there might be some quirks re displaying signal strength or 3G marks etc, but the SIM should connect without issue.

    Semi-regarding your comment on the imported iPad - the Govt. may a pretty huge change to the Type Certification marking requirements on April 28. Until now (as I mentioned in a previous comment), a manufacturer had to physically display the Type Certification markings (JATE/TELEC marks) on the device or the device label (look at the back of the iPhone).

    Now there has been a revision to this rule so that as long as the markings can be viewed onscreen, the device is ok for use in Japan. This is interesting because I believe that Apple display all their devices' international certifications within the OS (do Android devices do this also?). Technically this means that a SIM Lock Free iPad can be used in Japan on a b-mobile or other SIM without any legal issues (or any overseas device - as long as it has Japanese certs).

    While realistically there is no way that any specific consumer is going to get hauled in by the cops for using an overseas device with a Japanese SIM, it means that manufacturers and chiefly carriers will be more likely to provide support even when the device isn't their own. Its also part of the process towards a SIM lock free Japan.

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  14. Regarding the iPad issue, I went to the Ginza Apple store yesterday to confirm SIM lock or not (as the apple website FAQ says that "If you want to use the device overseas, please insert a local carriers' SIM)

    No luck... I guess it was just sloppy editing of their translation of the Apple US site by Apple Japan..

    Thinking about this, I wouldn't be surprised if this SIM Lock iPad is based on some kind of iPhone sales commitment between Son-san and Steve Jobs (based on a the iPhone deals that Softbank have offered over the past 5 months or so). But given the noises coming from docomo (who's Yamada-san has said they would like to do a Micro SIM) it seems like the door is still open (albeit maybe a bit down the line).

    One thought - if those of us who want a SIM Lock free iPad tell the shop staff in Apple stores etc., this will be transmitted back to Japan HQ following the shops periodic (weekly?) staff meetings. While I doubt it is possible to change Apple's mind, but if enough people say "I want a SIM lock free iPad in Japan", then it will at least give them food for thought. Ultimately, Apple just want to sell as many iPads as they can...

    Particularly if the point is made in a "I need it SIM lock free because I travel on business" or "am going on 留学" etc. sort of way.

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  15. Thanks as always for your informed comments!

    I should have been more specific and said that of course it won't be a legal problem to use a US iPad in Japan after it has passed certification, which I am assuming has already happened since it is on pre-order. It really seems Apple rushed the iPad out the door, which is odd seeing as that it is basically a big iPod Touch. As I alluded to, Israel stated they would confiscate an iPads at the border because their appropriate govt agency had zero information on it's wireless radio(s).

    It is amusing though that the communications minister rushed out to pick one up, and used it in Japan without thinking about the fact it wasn't certified as a wireless device.

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  16. Seeing those prices and 3G being only available on softbanks sucky-sucky network (I finally escaped their clutches 6 months ago, now happily back with docomo) I'm very happy I imported the wifi-only model. HT-03A rooting coming up I guess for some mobile wifi ap happiness.

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  17. Rooting is pretty straight forward - I have a few post on it. If you aren't using windows, check the post about making a goldcard with a unix-like OS (linux, mac os 10, etc.)

    But what sucks with the ipod touch, and assuming it is the same with the ipad is that, while the touch is perfectly capable of supporting bluetooth DUN, apple purposely crippled it. So you can't use your bluetooth on the ht-03a to give your ipad an internet connection (if it is anything like the touch). There is an app that is a work in progress for jailbroken touches that adds in the DUN profiles - think it is call ibluever or something like that.

    The reason this is a problem is that wifi tethering KILLS the ht-03a's battery in not time - like 30 minutes or less. I've heard people saying it sucks power faster than the battery can charge, and heats the phone up so hot you could cook an egg off it.

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  18. DUN would be nice but then the packets don't get pakehodai'd and crop up charges... :/ And I would have to put 2.1 (I think) to get DUN support on the HT-03a. Hopefully you're wrong about the wireless AP power usage, I used to have application on my Nokia and it didn't cause terrible battery usage...

    How's the 2.0/.1 on the HT-03a btw? Is it any slower that the 1.6 currently, I'd imagine it might be...

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  19. I'm sorry, but doesn't "SIM-locked" mean you can't change SIMs, even if the radio and the contacts and interconnects are compatible? Unless you're talking about jail-breaking the iPad, won't all iPads sold in Japan be locked to the SIM that came with them or at least to softbank SIMs?

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  20. I mean that you can use the wifi tether for root app to tether with either bluetooth or wifi. If you use bluetooth to do it (like I do with my notebook), it uses much less battery. Unfortunately, you can't do this without jailbreaking your iPod touch and (I am assuming) the iPad as well.

    Here is discussion on the battery drain and heat issue.

    CMs latest 1.6 based ROM suports DUN, so you don't need 2.1. I found 2.1 based ROMs to be slightly slower, but the biggest issue for me is with contacts

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  21. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SIM_lock

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  22. Rooted and now running the 5.0.7 just fine, too bad the google apps didn't follow (I did install the DRC83_base_defanged). Maybe I need to use the 4.x series?

    ReplyDelete
  23. You need this one: EPE54B
    http://kanged.net/mirror/download.php?file=gapps-ds-ERE36B-signed.zip

    Did you follow these instructions?
    http://db.androidspin.com/androidspin_developer_display.asp?developerid=3

    ReplyDelete
  24. I'm interested about the HTC Desire advices, I think that I missed them. Your point is that we should wait for June to see what's happening with regard to sim unlocking? Why would anything change in June?
    And if nothing changes, how would an unlocked German Desire be of any use in Japan, since noone offers bare Japanese SIMs at the moment?

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  25. EDIT 6: Thanks to Durf, it is all clear now. When I read the FAQ, my mind just skipped over the part that said "in Japan." So, I read the FAQ as saying "you cannot use a micro-SIM card purchased overseas in the iPad," when it really said "you cannot use a micro-SIM card purchased overseas in the iPad in Japan."

    So you can use the damn thing with AT&T in the US, but only with softbank in Japan. I guess that settles this issue once and for all.

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  26. Used a bit different instructions and there's some overlapping info on the net, figured out in the end though :) And CM'd my friends phone too today. Gets easier every time.

    BTW. Have you had problem with the 3G packet data? For some reason on my phone it feels like it takes some more time to initialise when I for example, start searching something on the market or so... like you can see the phone is sending packets but getting nothing in return.

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  27. Ah there's a 3G bug in -T3, >T4 has it fixed, flashing T5 ATM.

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  28. Hey sty, lets move the discussion of ROM flashing to this post, since that is where people will be looking for the information you are posting.

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  29. I bought an American iPad and cut my softbank card down from my Japanese iPhone (with unlimited data) to fit in the iPad but so far, the iPad says there's no sim card installed.

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