Here we go.
B-Mobile will add voice service to their data SIMs by the end of the month, with applications being accepted from July 30th. We now have the very first truly legit option for overseas smart phones in the B-Mobile talkingSIM. Unfortunately for tourists, a credit card is required, as well as proof of address in Japan, though foreign residents are not required to show The Card. And before anyone asks, they don't have a microSIM.
Applicants must produce one, and only one, of the following (scroll down):
- Drivers license
- Japanese passport
- Mental/physical disability or medical treatment "notebook" (手帳)
- Alien registration card
- Any of a number of insurance cards
- No 2-year contract required
- 25 free voice minutes
- Additional minutes @ ¥21/half minute (same typical rate of the big three carriers)
- ¥5/SMS sent; free to receive
- Unlimited data (symmetrical 300 kbps, no streaming)
- ¥3150 one-time new contract registration fee
Data transfer terms are the same as their current data-only SIM, which is plenty fast for email, surfing, and maps. Steaming apps, such as youtube and skype don't work, basically because B-Mobile must buy bandwidth from Docomo, so they are unable to offer a truly unlimited data product (if they plan to stay in business, that is). Overall, readers are happy with its performance.
There is a potential caveat for users with HTC devices running Android 1.6 "Donut." Xperia is unaffected.
Some sort of apparent incompatibility between the data-only SIM and HTC's baseband prevents connection with Donut. Interestingly, the same handset with the same baseband works with other versions of Android. Until it is clear if this will also affect the new voice+data SIM as well, it would be best to hold off purchasing one if you are running 1.6 and unable to upgrade (i.e., not rooted). The voice and data SIM should also fix the no 3G icon issue with some handsets. According to "likethesite":
My understanding is that the "no 3G symbol" and other niggles are caused between the radio and the host network (DCM). The b-mobileSIM 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.So, since this SIM will now support voice, this should cease to be an issue.
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.