Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Metropolitan police: Softbank trade-in program may violate law

Update: Gigazine is reporting that Softbank has changed the procedure and is in the clear.

Softbank Mobile graphic depicting the dangers of phone unlocking
The softbank trade-in program seemed wrong to me when first announced. I personally didn't like it because Softbank refuses to comply with government guidelines for unlocking customer phones but has no problem unlocking them to sell overseas. On top of that, Softank argued against unlocking by saying that it would result in a rash of phones being sent overseas (albeit due to theft).

Now, it seems that there may actually be problems. The Yomiuri is reporting that the Tokyo police have advised Softbank to suspend the program. The law requires that permission be obtained from the regulating prefectural office before beginning a program for selling used goods. Softbank hasn't done that but is running the program in all 47 prefectures.

Of course the "yarimashou" attitude of Son is admirable, but you really get the impression that he's just flying Softbank on a wing and a prayer. There's obviously a lack of advanced planning. Son hastily announces a tethering program that their Chief Technology Officer says their network cannot support, and then announces this buy-back offer. Had more time been taken, they would have realized the legal requirements and easily had complied by the launch of the iPhone 5.


  1. Not sure who would steal japanese cell-phones nowadays... 10 years ago it was the top, but now, it's just crappy useless bricks.
    They'd better go steal in other countries where carriers sell good phones! (am I sounding sore? sorry...)

  2. You're not, Japanese phones suck.

  3. Just got the iPhone 5 (from 4) they gave me a new number for my old iPhone 4 apparently for free? not sure how this works.. the attendant wasn't as helpful in explaining
    The guy said it is free for 2 years.. The old iPhone shows Softbank network on the status bar but no 3G