Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summary of Docomo and E-mobile SIM unlock presentations (part 1)

I hope some of you had time with such short notice to send some opinions into the MIC regarding what I am calling the preliminary guidelines on SIM locks. While technically, the word "preliminary" is not used by the MIC to describe the guidelines, the fact they are soliciting feedback indicates there is a possibility for revision.

As a followup, here are links to the presentations made by each of the four carriers during the April meeting on unlocking, with a brief summary of Docomo's and E-Mobile's presentations, both of which were in support of unlocking (and make absolute perfect sense, to me at least). Docomo and E-Mobile also base their opinions on where they believe the market is going and understand that the "Galapagos feature phone" is an evolutionary dead end that is soon to be outcompeted by little warm-blooded furry mammals - I mean smartphones.

KDDI (AU) and Softbanks presentations will be addressed in the next post.


Docomo's presentation (archive) was 5 slides and focused on the changing business model, their support of unlocking, and effects on customers. Docomo ended the presentation with a clear slide describing exactly what is and is not compatible (added English is mine).

What they officially said:
According to docomo, if unlocking is mandated there will be a new model for selling handsets in which the price of the service contract is separated from that of the phone, resulting in more clarity in the exact price for each. They expect this new model to coexist with the traditional model where locked phones are heavily subsidized, except that Docomo would unlock the phone after the contract expired.

Docomo also expects proliferation of smartphones/mobile data devices such as the Nexus one and the iPad, and gave an example of pricing for a locked versus unlocked Nexus one on US T-Mobile. (Obviously Docomo didn't see the softbank exclusive deal for the iPad coming.)

Docomo's opinion is that if customers desire unlocked phones, then the appropriate action is to offer unlocked phones, but also to make sure customers are aware of what services, technologies, and frequencies are compatible. Examples of incompatible services include carrier mail, walled garden internet, certain DRMed files, the ability to remotely lock a lost phone, and public service/disaster announcements.

Furthermore, a cooperative means for supporting handsets in an unlocked environment must be developed so that critical software patches can be delivered OTA, damaged handsets can be serviced, and information on stolen handsets can be shared between carriers.

What they really meant to say:

We want in on the iPhone action.


E-Mobile presented (archive) 8 slides that primarily echoed Docomo's thoughts, such as the need to accommodate customer desire by unlocking phones and the creation of a new domestic distribution model. E-mobile also believes that the success of this model and consumer protection require the support of a firm governmental policy. And of course E-Mobile, who only has the 1.7 GHz band, also said there needs to be a more neutral allocation of frequency bands.

They also showed the below slide which projects that by 2013, smartphones will account for 40% of all handsets sold globally. I wonder how this would break down for just Japan?


  1. Although their motivation might be their share of the iphone, the presentation seems quite objective and factual. I am positively surprised.

  2. Yeah, it wasn't bad.

  3. BTW, thank you for all your effort!

  4. Agreed, thanks for going through this and putting your notes up, softbanksucks.