Monday, November 19, 2012

b-mobile 3G Nano SIMs for the iPhone 5

The b-mobile Smartphone Voice SIMs now have nano SIMs. From 3 pm today, they'll be available for purchase online from JCI. I'll update this post with the link once it goes live. However, these SIMs are 3G FOMA SIMs and, even if a fix for Docomo LTE on the iPhone 5 is found, these SIMs will not provide LTE access. Ever.

There was of course a video that came out showing that Docomo's LTE network (Xi) can be made to work with an iPhone 5, but none of our readers have been able to recreate with success. All of them are still stuck with a 3G connection.

The price and terms are the same: ¥3,150 activation fee, 3-month minimum commitment
  1. Voice Plan
    • S: ¥1,290 for 32.5 min (¥21/30s per additional minute)
    • M: ¥2,290 for 75 min (¥18.9/30s additional)
    • L: ¥3,710 for ~357 min (¥14.7/30s additional)
  2. Data Plan
    • U200: ¥1,690 (200 kbps)
    • 2GB Flat Rate: ¥2,990 (best effort)
  3. Nano, micro, normal SIM size
Keep in mind that you're not out a whole lot if you get this SIM now, and an LTE version comes out some time later because you only need to use the SIM for 3-months to avoid a ¥5,250 early termination fee. You would need to pay a new fee for another SIM card, though.


  1. Could you comment on the Nexus 4? I'm planning a trip in January and wanted to know if it would work in Tokyo and if I could get a SIM for it. Last time I was in Japan I was denied a SIM for my Nexus 1. I haven't seen in giteki marks on the N4, but I don't think any reviews have looked for it either. Thanks...

  2. Do you know N4 model number? (e.g. Galaxy Nexus is GT-i9250) The phone registered giteki as model number, but I couldn't find exact model number. And unfortunately Japanese community says "It's not approved yet for now" (21th, Nov). FYI : I'm using N1 without no problem in Japan, and it has Giteki.

  3. Nexus 4 : LG-E960, Not approved yet by MIC.

  4. Okay, thanks. Is there any place (in English) to keep track of that? Do you think it will sell through the Google store? I know they sell the N7, but haven't heard about any phones being sold through the store in Japan.

    With my N1, it was summer 2011 when I tried. It was frustrating that a Docomo rep put a SIM in the phone and it was working great, but she said that she could not sell it to me because it lacked the mark. Thanks for your blog, now I have a better sense of the ins and outs of the Japanese mobile services.

  5. It's good that it didn't work for you because at this time, they would have raped you on the packet charges. See our description of using Xi.

    The MIC rules specifically state that it is not enough for a phone to certified, which the N1 IS. It must also display the giteki mark and cert numbers. It can be on the screen, like through a settings/certifications menu item, or physically on the phone. The physical stamp on the phone can be a sticker with the correct information (which is what the b-mobile IDEOS has).

    The problem is that due to delays, there wasn't time to stamp the phone with the certification information before it went on sale. So the N1 is not compliant if it doesn't display it's certification numbers.

  6. I'm pretty certain the B-mobile sims would work without any issues in your nexus 4. Docomo sells their simcards together with a handset so that may have been part of the problem you had last year but b-bmobile offers sim only options. I switched from Docomo to B-bmobile last year and there has never been any questions about the handset I use (I have a docomo branded X10 and GSIII but have also tested a international GSII with both networks). Whether or not it is actually ok to use a nexus 4 in Japan is a big grey area which is something for a completely different debate.

    The above listed voice plans are contracts for residents only as far as I know and you wouldn't be able to use them as a temporary visitor as they are not prepaid plans. However you should be able to get one of their prepaid plans regardless of what phone you use. I don't know what sim sizes they offer their pre-paid plans in but using a sim-cutter is always an option. That's what I had to do for my SIII as B-mobile didn't offer microsims at that time.

  7. Sorry to necro old post/thread but you seem knowledgeable in this field so I figured this is the best place to ask. I was planning on getting a b-mobile sumaho sim card for my Nexus 4, since my old data-only card for my old and now broken samsung nexus ran out of charge, but from your posts I got the impression that this wouldn't be a smart idea after all? If possible, could you please explain - I have no clue about this whole MIC/Xi thing at all.

  8. can I use this nano sim for ipad mini, too? I need it for data. I would really like to use ipad mini in japan.

  9. It seems the Nexus 4 has gained MIC certification, though whether or not the device has the proper markings yet is questionable: