Thursday, December 26, 2013

Baidu IME, Simeji (not really) sending keystrokes to outside servers

UPDATE: Much ado about nothing

The NHK piece I watched this morning turns out to have been total crap and essentially a staged sending of a password. My apologies for being duped. I should have seen through the bullshit, and I'll explain why below.

But first, the security company that was featured has posted a clarification on their blog. Both the Baidu IME and Simeji are doing cloud conversion of Japanese text. That is, conversion of 2-byte hiragana(全角文字)to kanji. So to do this, it sends all 2-byte text to the cloud, and they claim the text is sent even when the option is turned off. So, yes, this would seem to be a bug. If the cloud option is off, nothing should be done in the cloud.

However, it does not send standard (single byte) text at all.

Credit card numbers and passwords are always in single byte text, which means that neither the Baidu IME or simeji would have sent them, and the clarification explains just that:
Baidu IME , Simejiでは、全角入力の場合のみ情報が送信されています。クラウド入力Offの場合でも入力文字列を送信していました。パスワードなど半角入力のみの場合は送信されていません。クレジット番号や電話番号も変換しなければ送られません。
The Baidu IME and Simeji only send information when text is entered as two byte text. This happens even when cloud input is turned off. Passwords that are in single byte text are not sent. Credit card and phone numbers are also not sent if they do not require conversion. [Emphasis is original]
What this last sentence says is that if you enter the numbers in two byte text, e.g., 1234, then it will be sent since it is a conversion candidate.

Heres the thing: no one ever enters passwords or credit card number as two byte text, so the cases that they would have been sent are essentially zero. You cannot enter a credit card number (partially for this reason) as two-byte text on any e-commerce site.

The staged password theft

Getting to how all this go started, they used a phrase in Japanese that was essentially "1234 is a password," and it was done as 1234はパスワードです。(Or something like that). The camera then zooms in on a computer monitor that is capturing and displaying the Baidu IME's communication with the cloud server and they show 1234 being sent. At the time, I was thinking, "who uses 2-byte text for passwords?"

And the answer is:

A security company being broadcast on national TV uses 2-byte text for a password when that is the only way to trigger the reaction they want, even when it's a totally impossible situtation. The whole thing was staged. NHK is usually much better than this.

Original post

According to NHK  [J], the Baidu IME for PCs is sending all keystrokes, plus application and computer information, to outside servers even when the settings are explicitly set to not send information.

It's less clear what is happening with Simeji android IME. I haven't used it in years since adamrocker sold it to Baidu. With Simeji, it could just be that it is set to send and receive data by default, as opposed to sending data always, regardless of preference settings. Either way, I recommend avoiding it for the Google Japanese IME (insert NSA joke here).

This is very different from other IMEs

Of course all IMEs have the ability to send data back home. This allows for new words to be added as they become commonly used and for general improvements to input*. The difference here are major. According to the NHK article, both Google and Just Systems (maker of ATOK) send anonymized usage statistics with explicit permission from the user. That is, sending information is opt-in.

Baidu on the other hand does the exact opposite. Data are sent by default. Data are not anonymized. Raw text input is sent. You cannot opt out. If you do opt out, data are sent anyway.

* I'd argue that Swype, while I initially praised it's Japanese input, does actively not collect any information about how Japanese is input. None of these suggestions or bug has been fixed or implemented. I feel like I basically had to teach Japanese grammar to the swype keyboard, but with any complex sentence structure, forget about swyping in Japanese.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Japan Communications to bring landline numbers to Japanese mobile phones

Frank Sanda, general telecom disrupter and founder and CEO of Japan Communications Inc., the provider of b-mobile products, recently announced on twitter that they are "about bring Tokyo landline numbers to mobile phones". That is, you could have a 03-xxxx-xxxx phone number attached to your smartphone. This will make your mobile number indistinguishable at a glance from a normal landline phone and will allow people to call you for a fraction of the cost they would incur if they called your mobile number.

He also said that the goal for JCI this next year is to move in the same revenue class (trillion yen) as NTT East and NTT West, and he thinks this "03 Smartphone" will do just that. And he also thinks the NTTs are going to need some help from someone, somewhere.

As far as I can see, the way this is going to happen is using VoIP ("IP softphone") with a "Class A" LTE connection. If so, not only will calling in be cheaper, so will calling out. Docomo charges ¥42 per minute to place an out-of-network call from an LTE phone. Doing the same with VoIP costs one tenth of that price, and if the connection is good, (I'll come back to that later) the voice quality is loads better due to the use of higher-quality codecs.

A bit of background:

Phone Numbers in Japan

In Japan, prefixes are typically reserved for particular types of devices. Mobile phones are allocated numbers beginning with 090, 080, and (recently), 070. Because incoming calls are charged to the caller, calling a mobile phone can be quite expensive. A commonly available option is an iP (VoIP) softphone app for your smartphone that is attached to a 050 number. However, the incoming calls to a 050 number can still incur a premium charge, above the cost of a standard local call. So, the best would be to have a normal number attached to your cellphone, for example a “03” Tokyo prefix.

Using a SIP client with a purchased 03 DID allows this right now, which is similar to what many of us do to get a phone number from “back home”. (I used to use callwithus, but now have a free DID from callcentric at which I point my Google Voice number.) While this is easy and straightforward in most countries, it is a bit more complicated here in Japan (though not impossible).

Quality of Service

Part of the reason why you can’t just get a prepackaged VoIP plan for your mobile phone with a 03 number is because there are minimum requirements before particular prefixes may be allocated. For a standard landline (固定電話) number to be allocated to a VoIP provider, the line must be CLASS A, capable of an R-factor greater than 80 for 95% of the time with less than 100 ms latency (according to wikipedia). A Class B (>70 and <150 ms) line may only be allocated to a 050 number.

A Caveat

LTE is technically Class A and could qualify for a standard landline number allocation.


Realistically, I’m a bit skeptical how well this will work out. At peak times, the carriers are beyond capacity. I think the 95% of the time R factor requirement might be hard to meet. NTT East and West, as well as NTT Docomo and NTT Communications - hell, all the NTTs - are going to fight this. I’m sure all but Docomo will use the same argument that LTE doesn’t yet qualify as Class A. On top of this, you have inconsistent behavior with VoIP apps across different smartphones, as well as potential concerns with battery.

Convert existing b-mobile voice plans to the “Free Data” plan

Japan Communications has announced a potentially free upgrade path to the “Free Data” plan for users of their older voice SIMs. You can also keep your existing phone number. (Though I don’t think that many readers here will be interested, the upgrade also includes their new “keitai denwa” SIM, which is a voice+SMS only product for feature phones.)

You can apply for the change in plan from noon on December 27th via the My B-mobile page under “change service” (サービス変更).

However, the cost of upgrading could be significant for some people:
  • ¥2,000 fee is charged to change between a 3G and LTE plan (or vice versa in the case of the “keitai denwa” SIM.
  • Older SIM cards are incompatible and docomo levies a ¥3,000 fee for a new SIM
When changing plans, you’ll need to enter the number on your SIM card. The older white and blue SIM cards with a product number beginning with DN03 or AX03 (i.e., version 3 will have to be changed out.

The SIM with "docomo" written in red on the right is an LTE-capable SIM card. These SIMs are used for newer voice plans, even if the data in only 3G. The SIM with FOMA written in blue on the left is only capable of 3G and must be exchanged.

If you have the FOMA SIM shown on the left, then you will also have a 3G plan, so you're looking at ¥5,000 to upgrade, which is more than just dumping your old plan and getting the Free Data plan new to start. The question becomes, is keeping your existing phone number worth ¥2,000?

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Unlocked iPhone 5S and 5C on sale in Japanese Apple store

UPDATE: per a comment, the possibility has been raised that, even though this phone is unsubsidized and unconnected to any carrier, the settings may still cause problems with tethering on MVNOs. The XML preference file defining an APN has an option to set whether it allows tethering, and it could be possible that there is no way (without hacking the phone) to allow tethering with an MVNO.

If so, sorry iPhone lovers, but this is a total defect in iOS.

Well, that's a surprise.

iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C store pages are here.

You can take this to any Japanese mobile carrier and theoretically use it, but KDDI doesn't sell just SIM cards for unlocked phones, Softbank won't sell LTE SIM cards, and emobile doesn't have nano SIMs (so you'll need to chop down the SIM card). NTT Docomo will sell you a SIM card for this no problem, but you won't be able to get a docomo email address because sp mode can't be used with phones not sold from docomo.

I'd suggest to get the b-mobile "Free Data" SIM, which went on sale just today. Nice timing.

I turned out to be wrong that the docomo iPhone was locked out of MVNOs, but it cannot be used to tether with an MVNO (because the utility for creating the Carrier Profile won't allow an APN to be set for tethering). So, this unlocked one is the best way to get full iPhone functionality with an MVNO. The FAQ says that unlocked iPhone can do tethering.

Shipping times are showing one to two weeks for all colors and sizes, and the price ranges from ¥71,800 to ¥91,800.

As far as models go... I don't know which one is best. I guess it depends on where you tend to travel. Just don't get the CDMA versions.

Friday, November 22, 2013

b-mobile "Free Data" SIM will lower cost of voice+data plans

Update: on sale now here:

Here are the details from b-mobile (which also describes their 3G voice-only SIM for feature phones) This will become my new recommended data plan for unlocked smartphones (not tablets) if you don't want to (or can't) hack your phone to fix the infamous signal bars and cell standby android bug. (yes, I call it a bug).

A modest price decrease on the low-speed data plan

The current low-cost LTE voice and data "smartphone" SIM from b-mobile runs about ¥2,000 per month for unlimited 150 kbps data. As with all Docomo LTE SIMs, there is no included call allowance. From November 23rd, the new plan will lower this to about ¥1,600 (1,560+tax). while increasing data speed to 200 kbps.
With the upcoming consumption tax increase, currently planned for several stages, b-mobile is no longer displaying prices with tax included. Be sure to confirm if prices include tax or not. Until now, almost all mobile-related prices were quoted with tax included.

This is about a ¥400 yen discount each month for an extra coffee at スタバ or a couple of mint crunkies (if they still exist). The change in data speed is insignificant – All of the low speed plans under about 400 kbps are really hard to use for anything other mail and chat. This SIM does support turbo charge options of 100 and 500 MB, good over 90 days, for ¥300 and ¥1,200.

The real savings

The price of the add-on, high-speed data plan has been roughly cut in half, from just under ¥3,000 to just over ¥1,500. Not only that, the new plan adds an additional gig of data for a total of 3GB per month. Previously, adding the larger data quota to the smartphone SIM would cost over ¥4,000/month. Now you can get a voice-capable SIM card with 3 GB of monthly, high-speed data, for only ¥3,120+tax.

Avoid the cell standby bug

Anyone who's been paying attention to the MVNO scene in Japan is well aware of Android's poor handling of Docomo data-only SIMs. A phone with one of these SIMs doesn't display signal bars, and the cell standby process kills the battery in a matter of hours. The fix requires rooting your phone and voiding the warranty.

People who didn't want to or couldn't do that had no choice but to buy a voice SIM.

Now, with the new price on the smartphone voice SIM with 3GB of data being at ¥3,120+tax, you can basically think of this as a data SIM with voice for free. The original prepaid 1 GB Flat Rate SIM, which is still available, cost ¥3,100/month (after the first month). For nearly the same monthly cost, you now get three times the data and won't have to void your warranty to make your phone work properly.

You could actually use this as a regular phone SIM, and make cellular calls, but the rate is not cheap and there is not in-network calling with MVNOs. None of the MVNOs have any room to get creative with voice plans due to Docomo's wholesale pricing. There are no packages offered, not even for Docomo subscribers. ¥40/minute is what you pay for voice with a Xi (LTE) plan and a docomo SIM. The FOMA (3G) plans are packaged such that MVNOs can include a free calling allowance, which is ironic as hell since VoLTE does not yet exist, so all voice calls, even with an LTE SIM, get routed over 3G.

It would be much less expensive to use VoIP or some sort of chat option for placing calls.

Plan details

  • LTE
  • Post paid (credit card)
  • Limited to residents of Japan
  • ¥3,000+tax upfront
  • ¥1,560+tax base cost for 200 kbps unlimited data
  • ¥1,560+tax additional (¥3,120 total) for 3GB of high-speed data
  • Turbo charge (100 and 500 MB for ¥300 and ¥1,200)
  • Calls: ¥20/30 seconds
  • Normal, micro, and nano SIMs available

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Potential fix for 3G data and Nexus 5

UPDATE:Nope, doesn't work: "The patch only makes the phone think it's registered so it doesn't really have any effect on the network level. One thing I noticed is that it tries to register with MNC=215, not idea where that comes from..."

Over on oov's blog, he has a post on the Nexus 5 and Android 4.4 (kit kat) data-only SIM cell standby [J]. He has found another bug in Android 4.4 that is related to (apparently) incorrect mobile signal reporting. With an LTE data-only (not a data+voice) SIM, the signal bars are properly displayed in the notification bar, but cell standby shows a relatively high percentage of total battery consumption and the phone reports the time without a signal as 100%.

However, this just appears to be an issue with display only, because the phone does have a signal, it doesn't get hot, and the battery drain is not unexpectedly high.

He's created a patch for it and is looking for someone with a 3G SIM or 3G-only mobile contract to test to see if the patch also fixes the problem with 3G networks (bug here). This is all manually done right now because there is no Xposed installer for Android 4.4.


You will to have adb and fastboot setup on a computer and you will need to unlock the Nexus 5's bootloader, and flash a custom recovery, and then decompile and recompile jar classes.
  1. Boot in to fastboot by holding volume down and the power button, connect to your PC with USB, type:
    fastboot oem unlock
    then confirm on the phone. This will do factory reset on your phone, wiping everything. Google for "adb backup" if you want to backup some of your stuff (assuming it works on the N5).
  2. Reboot the phone, then disable MTP and enable USB debugging.
  3. Reboot in fastboot and flash the teamwin recovery with:
    fastboot flash recovery openrecovery-twrp-n.n.n.n-hammerhead.img
  4. Boot into recovery and mount the system partition.
  5. Pull a the following files to your pc to create a backup:
    adb pull /system/framework/telephony-common.jar
    adb pull /system/framework/telephony-common.odex

    then delete the odexed file
    adb shell rm /system/framework/telephony-common.odex
  6. Download and start up Baksmali / Smali Manager.
  7. Enter 0 -> f -> telephony-common.jar (which pulls this file from the phone).
  8. Enter 5 -> 1 to set the current project file to telephony-common.jar.
  9. Enter 1 -> x -> Y
  10. Open com/android/internal/telephony/ServiceStateTracker.smali in a text editor and search for:
    and on the following line change:
    if-nez to if-eqz
    then save and close the file
  11. Return to Baksmali / Smali Manager and enter 2 -> N to recompile the jar classes with the patched file
  12. Finish with 3 -> Y -> f -> R and the phone will reboot.
This should fix the display issue, but what happens with a 3G contract?

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Nexus 5 is not compatible with 3G contracts

UPDATE: a bug report has been filed. This affects all 3G contracts, regardless of whether the SIM is LTE-capable or not. This Google Plus post has good discussion in the comments.

Reports in the comment section here and elsewhere widely indicate that, for reasons not exactly clear, the b-mobile 3G SIMs are not working with the Nexus 5. According to a local android developer, the phone does not even see the "NTT DOCOMO" network under available networks. While JCI has not yet tested the Nexus 5, they also have been getting a number of reports of 3G SIMs not working.

It his highly likely that ALL docomo MVNOs will be similarly affected.

This SIM will not work with the Nexus 5
SIM cards that are currently incompatible are the BLUE and white FOMA ones:
If you are a user of a voice SIM, you can have your plan converted over to an LTE plan, but there are several disadvantages. First off, docomo's pricing for voice with an LTE plan is different than with a 3G plan. There is no option for an included number of minutes (free talking allowance), which is reflected in the lack of this option with docomo Xi voice plans. Second, docomo charges each MVNO a fee for both the issuance of a new SIM card and activation of a new account:
  • ¥2,100 for a new account when switching from 3G to LTE
  • ¥3,150 for a new SIM card.
According to their official twitter, new LTE products that may will have a different pricing structure for the voice plan will soon be available, but I don't have specifics. Also, it's unclear if the administrative fee of ¥2,100 would be generated again by the changing to a different LTE plan. I would think not, since as far as the docomo side of the equation is concerned, there is no new account activation – that should only occur when changing from a 3G to an LTE SIM.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Using the Nexus 5 with NTT Docomo Xi

UPDATE: See this post for a list of instructions on how to change your Docomo ISP to Mopera U from sp-mode, which is necessary to use the Nexus 5 (or any unlocked, non-docomo phone with a Xi contract). Users are reporting that there is not an option to add the cheaper lite plan online, but because the standard plan has a 6 month free campaign now, add the standard plan now, then within 6 months change to the lite plan by going to a Docomo Shop.

Nexus 5 home screens showing a connection to docomo LTE
There has been a lot of discussion and questions regarding exactly how to use the Nexus 5 with Docomo. Many of you have existing contracts for docomo LTE (Xi), and you may be wondering if you can just simply swap out the SIM card.

The answer is probably not.

If you just walked into a docomo shop and bought a Xi LTE phone, you are 99.9999999% using their "sp mode" ISP. However, the APN used with this ISP is filtered by the phone's IMEI number, with only numbers specifically whitelisted by docomo able to use this ISP.
Many of you may not even realize that Docomo has different ISPs, since the mobile carrier typically is the ISP. There was at one point a good reason for it, well sort of. Docomo used a separate ISP for data devices, like the old USB dongles or other devices that would tether a computer to their network. This did two things:
  1. made it easy to charge a premium price for that service and
  2. segregated devices that were potentially able to eat a huge chunk of instantaneous bandwidth from the typical customer.
Therefore, you will need to change your ISP from sp-mode to docomo's other ISP, Mopera U. sp-mode comes with extra services, like sp-mode mail that provides an email address. You will lose this email address with a Nexus 5. If you want to continue having an email address, you can continue having one @mopera, but honestly, with gmail, there is really no need for either an sp-mode or mopera mail account.

There are two basic choices of mopera plans:
  1. Mopera U Standard for ¥500+tax includes email
  2. Mopera U lite for ¥300+tax without mail
Sp-mode is a better value because it includes mail for the same price as the Mopera U lite plan, but しょうがない. Remember this is the just the charge to have an internet connection. You then need to have a data plan on top of that, and most people are using the Xi 7GB plan.

N5 using the APN, which is preconfigured.

To change your ISP, I understand this can be done online through the my docomo page. If you can't figure out how to do that, you can just go to a docomo shop and get it done. You really don't need to tell them why you are doing it, and you don't even need to bring the phone.

NEVER change you ISP from sp-mode to mopera if you have an unrooted, unhacked, docomo Xi phone. Docomo firmware changes the APN when activating tethering, and this APN is incompatible with Mopera U. Data will work fine but you won't be able to tether. The Mopera U ISP and APN is only for unlocked, non-docomo phones.

Once you have changed the ISP to Mopera U, put your SIM card in the shiny new Nexus 5, then set as the APN. It will most likely happen automatically. Alternatively, you can use, which removes some filtering.

[List of docomo APNs.]

Here are some various screenshots from the mobile networks settings

This is the Non-North American version, and it can see  the other carrier's networks
In the case of KDDI, it is seeing their Band 1 LTE data network (voice not compatible)

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Docomo iPhone 5S and 5C ARE compatible with MVNOs

However, there is a catch. According to the b-mobile compatibility page, LTE only works with voice SIMs. With a standard data-only SIM, you will only get a 3G signal.

LTE requires use of a voice SIM.
This leaves two options, ruling out most other MVNOs because they only offer data:
In addition, a new carrier profile is needed, which is available from b-mobile. This also means that visitors without residency cannot get an LTE signal with an iPhone. Also, this carrier profile does not allow tethering.

I have absolutely no idea why is the problem with LTE and data SIMs, or what is preventing the phone from being able to tether, even with a different carrier profile.

070 prefix phone numbers for 3G+ phones

Starting November 1st, 2013, Japanese phone numbers beginning with "070" will be available for use with 3G, LTE, and 4G cellular phones.

070 is not a new prefix for Japanese cellular phones. It's actually an old prefix: it was (and still is) used for Japan's last remaining 2G cellular network, called "PHS" in Japanese.

However, with PHS usage in decline and 3G/LTE/4G phone numbers in the 080 and 090 space being rapidly depleted, they have opened up parts of the 070 prefix for non-2G/non-PHS use:

  • If the first digit after the 070 is a five or six (ex. 070-5XXX-XXXX or 070-6YYY-YYYY), it is still a Japanese PHS number
  • All other number combinations could be either a PHS number or a 3G (or more advanced protocol) number
One interesting interoperability issue: because PHS 2G is not compatible with worldwide 2G GSM, they cannot send or receive SMS text messages.

That's how Japan's mobile email system got started: it was invented as an alternative to SMS.

From a consumer's standpoint, Japan's mobile mail alternative to SMS was superior: it allowed very long messages, it could interoperate and send/receive from internet email addresses, and allowed for rich content much like HTML mail.

From a carrier's commercial viewpoint, mobile email was a blessing because carrier provided email addresses, unlike phone numbers, could not to transferred to rival's networks (via MNP procedures), locking in customer loyalty; subscribers are hesitant to defect to other carriers because they would have to change/lose their Japanese carrier mobile mail email address.

It is only a recent phenomenon were people in Japan have begun to use SMS, although usage lags compared to carrier email. This is because of a few factors:
  • It is only recently that the government MIC mandated that carrier's SMS interoperate (send/receive SMS text messages between Japanese and international carriers)
  • Japanese 3G phones often had the SMS/MMS functionality buried in a deep submenu and referred to by strange brand names ("C-Mail" for KDDI/au SMS and "S!Mail" for Softbank MMS). Foreign phone operating systems, such as Android and iPhone, tend to feature the SMS/MMS features more prominently in their user interfaces. As Android and iPhone became popular in Japan, awareness of this functionality increased.
  • When the restrictions were lifted for SMS/MMS interoperability, internet services (both in Japan and overseas) started increasing the use of SMS as a verification method for Japanese customers.
Thus, sending SMS/MMS messages used to never work if sent to a 070 number. Now, people will need to know if the the 070 phone is PHS or not if they want to send an SMS.

PHS' popularity amongst the general public in Japan has dropped precipitously now that 3G is ubiquitous and even faster phones (LTE/4G) are available everywhere. However, there is one area where PHS is still used: corporations still use them for internal "employee assigned" phones as they're very cheap to buy and use in bulk with a corporate contract. They tend to be used as pagers, either connected to humans or machines.

When 3G was introduced, they first exclusively assigned the 080 prefix to the devices. They then eventually added the 090 prefix. During this time when 3G was new, some people were surprised to hear people tell them that their mobile number was "080", thinking that only "070" numbers were mobile numbers. Now, with the younger generation, some people may express surprise that somebody has a "070" number, as younger people associate the 070 prefix with old technology.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Both Nexus 5 models appear compatible in Japan

The Nexus 5 is now official. From the product page, select the "tech specs" in the drop down menu, then "View full tech specs". The "leaked" service manual appears to have been for the "Rest of the World model" (I'll call it international).

It is my understanding that Docomo's planned 150 Mbps LTE downlink will be using Band 3, which the international model supports, but not the North American model.

(Japanese frequency bands)

For people who are based in Japan but make trips to North America, the international model looks like the best route. You will NOT get LTE service in the US, but it is compatible with T-Mobile 3G (WCDMA Band 4) and AT&T 3G (WCDMA Band 2). We've all happily lived with 3G for years now. It is totally sufficient.

For people who are based in North America but make trips to Japan, the North American model is best. It is compatible with both T-Mobile and AT&Ts LTE networks (LTE Band 4), and also with what is currently the primary LTE band in Japan for Softbank and NTT Docomo (LTE Band 1). However, lacking Band 3 might become a hinderance in Japan using Docomo or MVNOs as Band 3 seems to be central to Docomo's expansion plans.

Thursday, October 31, 2013

How to add this site as a Chrome search engine

A nice feature of chrome is being able to add custom search engines. Once added, begin typing the name of the site, then hit tab and continue typing your search terms. We use this all the time as a quick way to find information on this site because we lack a master index or FAQ post.

(If anyone knows our content better than us, we’d be forever grateful for help compiling a list of frequently asked questions about mobile in Japan with a simple list of links to posts with answers.)

1. From Chrome settings, under search select “Manage search engines…”. You’ll probably see a number of sites that have (somewhat annoyingly) added themselves already.

2. In the boxes below, add a nickname for the site (we used “JMT”), the keyword to bring up the search option (we used “”), then the following URL:

3. Hit done

Begin typing the keyword, then hit tab.

Type your search term.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Navitime train transit app includes the most free features

Some time ago, I said that I'd do an updated comparison of the free Japanese train apps. Here it is. I limited this comparison to what I consider to be fully-featured apps. This basically rules out anything that is just a browser frontend or English-only, leaving Ekitan, Jorudan, Navitime, and Google Maps.

Unfortunately, the premium apps are all subscription based and cost several bucks a month, and each app publisher works hard to try and get you to pay money. For example, Jorudan uses most of its pixels to display buttons for features that are disabled without a subscription, which is annoying.

Speaking of annoyances, none of these are perfect. Jorudan displays timetables from the top of the hour, rather than from the next departure. Ekitan forces you to mash the back button to return to the start screen after a search because it lacks a "home" button. Navitime search for Tokyo matches every station in Tokyo that has a duplicate name in some other part of the country (because "tokyo" is appended in parenthesis to the station name for resolving ambiguities). When pulling up a train schedule in Google maps, if you don't hit the back button twice to drop back to the main screen, next time you open the app, you'll be greeted by the same timetable.

(Click the image to the left to enlarge (or open it in a new tab) and behold navitime's search results for 東京.)

A few of the cool features each has: Jorudan has unlimited history. Navitime has an alarm for making transfers. Ekitan allows shake to clear fields.

I tried to think of a subjective way to rank these apps, so I scored them based on their inclusion of features. Excellent implementation (◎) get 3 points. functional implementation (◯) gets 2, half-arsed (△) 1. Zero points for non implementation. Navitime has the most features for free.

Romaji input
(price etc)
Select from
Set walking
Navitime 3.2.3
Ekitan 2.2.5
Google Maps 7.3.0
Jorudan 1.6.5

Monday, October 28, 2013

Confirm which overseas carriers are compatible with Docomo smartphones

Frequency Bands and carriers supported by Docomo Xperia A SO-04E in the Philippines

Using Docomo’s international roaming site, world wing, you can confirm which carriers supports your phone’s 3G frequency bands. If you have your phone unlocked, you can just get a SIM card directly from that particular carrier. Docomo's information is only in Japanese, but all you need to know is the name of the country in katakana and the model number of your phone.

As long as you’re not visiting North America, getting a fast data connection with an unlocked Japanese smartphone should be no problem. This is because Japan’s primary 3G band, UMTS Band 1 (aka 2100 MHz or “IMT”) is pretty much the world standard. If I take my Docomo Xperia A (SO-04E) to the  Philippines, India, the UK, Singapore, Australia, Thailand, China, South Africa, or Brazil, my phone is compatible with at least one 3G network. While LTE would be nice, there are few phones compatible across multiple carriers - 3G is more than sufficient.

The problem comes when visiting North America, where spectrum is allocated differently than the rest of the world. There are no compatible 3G networks in Canada, the US, or Mexico. You may see that “3G 850 Mhz” is listed as a 3G option for some carriers, like AT&T in the US, but without support for the “3G” option, you will be stuck with 2.5G (EDGE) or 2G (GPRS) speeds, which are unusable. None of the recent Docomo smartphones compatible with their World Wing international roaming will get a 3G signal in North America. 

Do not pay money for a “3G” connection in the US with an unlocked Docomo phone. You’ll only get 2G, which is too slow to be useful on a smartphone. Note that the Docomo iPhone 5S/5C is listed as incompatible with North American 3G (PDF)

According to Docomo's information, their iPhone 5 can't be used with 3G while roaming in the US or Canada.
(Docomo is geographically challenged and thinks Mexico is in South America.)

Just how unusable is 2.5G? Allow me to share a recent anecdote.

I keep a Nexus device with a radio optimised for US T-Mobile, which in the past had been the best carrier for brief trips to the US because they offer a $3/day 200 MB 3G package with unlimited voice and SMS. I’ve used this plan all over the US for the past few years. Once 200 MB is exceeded, you are throttled down to 2G speeds (supposedly) for the rest of the day.

On my most recent trip the to US, I discovered that T-Mobile has gotten more aggressive with network management. The throttles would roll over into the next day, such that I spent much of my time with the equivalent of and EDGE data connection. Mail with no attachments gets through just fine, which is about the only good thing I can say about the experience. Most services and webpages simply time out, including google maps. By the end, I had actually switched my plan to the $2/day 2G package because paying the extra buck was just not worth it.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Supposedly leaked Nexus 5 service manual indicates support for Japanese LTE bands.

If this is really the Nexus 5 service manual, then this is good for Android users in Japan: Support for LTE without having to deal with a device that locks you out of mobile network settings.

FDD-LTE: Bands 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20.
WCDMA (HSDPA 3G): Bands 1, 2, 4, 5, 8

Band 1 is Docomo and Softbank's 2100 MHz, used for both LTE and 3G. As far as I can tell, the Nexus 5 does not support the low frequencies of either carrier, though.

CDMA is mentioned in the manual, but as you can see below, it is not listed as a "Supporting Standard". Therefore, my guess is that the reference to CDMA is probably just a standard copy-paste, to be read as "IF this did CDMA, here's what it would be."

However, as far as I can tell, CDMA is unsupported. (Also FeliCa, mobile Suica, etc. is not supported.)

Saturday, October 5, 2013

How to set different languages for individual Android apps

Unfortunately, there are Android apps that will not run properly, or sometimes at all, if your system language and locale are set differently than what the app expects. It is frustrating to be forced to set your phone to display in a language you aren't comfortable with. Worse yet is when two different apps each demand different system languages.

(Though not an Android app, the worst offender is Adobe Creative Suite. I have a workstation set to Japanese just so that Illustrator and Acrobat will run.)

Some apps that misbehave without ja-JP

The new Google Maps app and Google Now are two in particular that eventually drove me to change my phone's language and locale to Japanese. Even if Google allowed separating these two fundamentally different concepts, there would still be issues with these apps. Also, Sony's Xperia contact app will organize all non-English contacts under a single symbol icon.

I have confirmed with folks at Google that not all Now features are available, such as disaster alerts, unless language and locale are set to Japanese. I've also had some generally wonky behavior with Google Now when my system is set to en-US.

With Maps, if I search for a station name in Japanese, such as 東京駅, the station is found just fine, but then all the information gets displayed in English, and when you check your search history, there is not record of searching for 東京駅 but for "Tokyo Station," and to make matters worse, this is sometimes displayed in 2-byte font romaji (which is not English), breaking expected functionality.

The text "Tokyo" and "TOKYO" are not the same thing!

App Settings Xposed module to the rescue

The Xposed framework is just awesome. It allows you to tinker with individual apps and system files without have to actually tinker with them. For example, old the b-mobile signal bars fix required decompiling, patching, then recompiling. The new fix just uses an Xposed module.

With the App Settings module, you can change all sorts of app behavior, including screen resolution, orientation, and fullscreen settings, as well as many other options, including revoking individual permissions. You can make an app resident in memory, so you won't ever complain when a hangout request causes your candy crush game to close and you lose your progress. Version 2.2 of the Xposed framework now includes a repository of modules that you can download from within the app.
  • Android 4.03 - 4.3
  • Root
  • Xposed Installer (v 2.2 or higher; apk)


  1. Download and install the most recent version of the Xposed installer.
  2. Launch the Xposed installer, tap "Framework" and tap "Install/Update".
  3. Reboot the phone.
  4. Launch the Xposed installer, tap Download, and the refresh icon 🔃, then search for or scroll down to App Settings.
  5. Select it and tap download and install.
  6. From the Xposed installer main menu, enable App Settings by tapping the check box, then tap the module and chose the app to modify from the menu.
From there, I think it'll be pretty self explanatory.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Tokyo Police push ID verification for data-only SIMs

This sucks and is about as well thought out as a knee-jerk reaction from a politician who knows the internet is in fact not a truck but instead thinks it is a series of tubes.

It will mean the end of cheap data SIMs for visitors, and it's going to take away a large source of revenue during the Tokyo Olympics for scrappy MVNOs like JCI. Maybe the Police haven't considered the olympics and the number of visitors that would need mobile data access, or the have and that scares them.

As I have mentioned numerous times (and why I think an unlocked iPhone could have been a game changer), MVNOs usage is exploding in Japan. The idea that "Japanese people don't even know what a SIM card is" outdated and no longer really applicable. True, there are some that of course do not, but if the Metropolitan Police is making an issue of MVNO SIMs, that means a LOT of people are using them.

Anyway, here is the issue. From the Yomiuri:



As the number of people who use a traditional feature phone for voice calls and a smartphone for mail and internet increases, so does demand for data-only SIM cards.

In 2008, a law was enacted requiring identification verification for the sale of voice SIMs, but data-only SIMs are exempt because the Ministry of Infrastructure and Communications didn't imagine they could be used for nefarious purposes since they lacked voice capabilities.

However, downloading free smartphone apps allow voice communications with data-only SIM cards.

Therefore, Tokyo Metropolitan Police Chiefs have pointed out that "as technology has evolved, data-only SIM cards now effectively posses the same functions as voice SIMs. It is necessary to immediately begin identification verification for [data-only SIMs]."
On is the following:
One incident involved the usage of LINE and KakaoTalk to recruit high school girls into prostitution.
As I understand it, when Line detects a "44010" SIM*, it requires you to login to your mydocomo page, which users of MVNOs don't have. This means line can't even be used with an MVNO (of course other services can, though).

*440 is Japan's Mobile Country Code and 10 is Docomo's Mobile Network Code. So a docomo SIM is often simply referred to by phone geeks as a 44010 SIM. MVNOs using Docomo's network provide 44010 SIMs (which is why they will be locked out of the Docomo iPhone 5S and 5C).

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

Softbank Mobile incorrectly reported good-standing accounts as delinquent to credit reporting agencies

63,133 people who received subsidies for a new phone and are paying in installments had their credit history temporarily fubared by a Softbank internal reporting error. If you are a softbank customer and have a current 2-year contract with:
  1. a phone that is less than two years old and
  2. you are paying in installments for the phone
Then you could have been reported as delinquent. Fortunately, the problem has been noticed and it should be corrected. Reporting agencies have sent notices to individuals of the mistake.

The credit check for softbank is a totally opaque and ridiculous process, and if you've ever failed the 審査 you can easily be left wondering if there isn't some sort of error somewhere. They don't give any indication as to what the problem is. They just ask you to try again, this time with a drivers license, or with a utility bill, or with a credit card. Is my name in katakana somewhere and romaji somewhere else? Does one place lack my middle name? Did someone misspell something?

So, I'm totally not surprised to hear this news.

Those who have been reading this blog for a while know that I'm also thankful to softbank. Their opaque 審査 is the reason for the existence of Japan Mobile Tech, who has been faithfully serving your English-language need for carrier news and views since 2009.

How to tell if you are paying for a phone in installments

This is easy.

If you DID NOT pay at least ¥60,000 up front for the phone at the time of purchase, you are paying in installments. If you got a phone for ZERO YEN, you are paying in installments. If you got a shiny new iPhone (or Android) for around ¥20,000, you are paying in installments.

Monday, September 30, 2013

NTT docomo does not prevent unbranded devices from connecting to LTE network

There are now several posts online that describe using the Nexus 7 LTE with various Japanese SIM cards. Unlike the iPhone (and just as I expected) there appear to be no problems getting a connection with an unlocked, unbranded device on docomo's "Xi" LTE network. LTE service, both direct from docomo and through an MNVO, works perfectly.

N7 APN settings (Image source).

Until now, we couldn't rule out a "server-side" origin for the problems that unlocked iPhone 5 users encounter when trying to connect to docomo LTE. This was because, except for those provided by docomo, there were no other LTE devices that supported docomo's primary LTE frequency (Band 1, 2100 MHz). We had two variables (iOS software and docomo servers), and one equation (Apple hardware), which is unsolvable.

We can now safely say that 3rd party devices are not subject to an across-the-board lock out from "Xi" LTE.

Prospects for unlocked iPhone 5S and 5C in Japan

It still remains unclear (due to lack of testing) what will happen when an unlocked iPhone 5S or 5C is brought to Japan. iOS is well known for disabling the ability to easily alter APN settings depending on the SIM card that is inserted. As mentioned in comments on another post, the iPhone Configuration Utility can be used to create configuration files that add new APNs, and this is used by some MVNOs to work around disabled APN settings. However, as I noted earlier, the docomo carrier bundle appears to prevent attaching to 3G and LTE networks with anything other than the sp-mode APN. If this is the case, it could render the configuration utility useless if these same rules are included on unlocked iPhones as well.

The sp-mode APN is filtered by IMEI number on the "server side." Only whitelisted devices (sold by docomo) can connect.

Nexus 7 LTE SIM options

The Shukan Ascii article compares different LTE SIMs in the Nexus 7. I'll briefly translate and summarize the contents in another post when I have more time.

In short, Docomo Xi SIMs work and are recommended by Shukan Ascii. You will need either:
  1. a subscription to docomo's Mopera ISP ( APN) or
  2. a contract with a docomo MNVO.
You cannot take a docomo SIM from a normal docomo LTE phone and put it in the Nexus 7. Most all docomo phones now use the sp-mode ISP. The Mopera ISP must be used.

A contract change was also required to get a KDDI SIM to work, but as I suspected, coverage is not the best (though better than expected in the Tokyo metro area). Emobile SIMs are not yet compatible pending a firmware update.

Shukan Ascii weren't able to get the Softbank LTE SIM to work with anything except regular 3G, but they admit they didn't try very hard. I know of at least one person claiming to have softbank LTE and an iPhone SIM card working with Android.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

MVNOs appear locked out of Docomo iPhone 5S and 5C

UPDATE: b-mobile "smarphone" SIMs are compatible with LTE.

Like most SIM-locked iPhones, the Docomo variants do not allow for setting mobile access point names (APN). Without this ability, even if the phone was unlocked to allow usage on other carriers, you would be unable to connect to the data network (except with a particular carrier in the Philippines that completely ignores APN settings).

[List of NTT Docomo APNs.]

This means that you can only use the "sp-mode" ISP from Docomo. You cannot use the "Mopera U" ISP, also from Docomo.

Conversely, to use any Android phone with one of the large numbers of MVNOs does NOT even require paying the ¥3,000+tax fee to have the phone unlocked, since the MVNOs are using Docomo's network. All you have to do is follow the simple instructions to set the appropriate APN. To date, I have never heard of an Android phone that prevents changing mobile network settings.

Docomo carrier bundle

I spent the morning looking around the NTT Docomo iPhone carrier bundle (Docomo_jp.bundle; v. 15.1.0). Coming from an Android point of view, it's really interesting to see all the effort put into preventing even the slightest changes. Everything is signed. Not just individual files, but some entries within files are signed, including the APNs.

Within the carrier.plist file are three APN entries, two of which are blank and disabled. The other one is the standard APN, which (also unlike Android) is being used for both data and tethering. (Turns out we were all wrong on our speculation why docomo performs a forced APN switch when activating tethering on Android).

Also within the bundle are several override preference files (overrides_N51_N53.plist), which contains an entry that appears to only allow the phone to attach to the spmode APN, and both this file and this entry are signed. So I think that, even if you succeeded in somehow setting a different APN, you'd still not be able to connect.

Friday, September 20, 2013

KDDI announces "U22" discount, one ups Docomo, Softbank

Looks like the guys at KDDI had to work late. This announcement showed up late last night. Following Softbank, KDDI has now matched Docomo's student discount. Three years waived voice fees and ¥1,050 discount on data.

This is better than the other two offers because it is not limited to students. Like Softbank, any LTE smartphone is eligible.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

iPhone price war begins: Softbank matches Docomo's student discount

Softbank Mobile and KDDI, the existing two Japanese iPhone carriers offered (as usual) the exact same pricing and discounts. NTT Docomo, the new iPhone carrier, beat them in price in just about every category, the most significant being their Student discount.

This waived the base voice fee for 3 years and gave a discount on data of ¥1,050.

Of course, Softbank has now matched this, which comes as absolutely no surprise. No word from KDDI yet, but I assume they'll also match this discount.

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Nexus 7 LTE "currently" incompatible with emobile LTE

UPDATE: A firmware update will make the Nexus 7 compatible with emobile LTE.

From the Nexus 7 LTE purchase page, we have the following:
E-mobile band 3 (1800MHz) not currently supported.

I have no idea how to interpret the word "currently" in this sentence. It could mean that this current hardware revision is incompatible, and if you buy it, you'll never have the option of emobile LTE. Or, it could be that there is currently a firmware incompatibility that a future OS update will fix.

Nexus 7 LTE on sale in Japan

If you access the direct link for the LTE version on the play store, you can add the US version to your cart, and it indicates a 1-2 business days for shipping. However, on the official Japanese Nexus 7 site, it is currently listed as unavailable, though if you choose one of the other versions, you can change that for the LTE version (though the display language switches to English).

North America or European Version

Right now, only the US version is available from the play store in Japan. Both will work in Japan. Neither will grab the NTT Docomo's or KDDI's "800 MHz" bands. This is because there are a ton of bands that are called "800" (even "850" is sometimes called "800").

(Japanese frequency bands)

Docomo's "800" band is Band 19, and KDDI's is Band 18. The EU version supports Band 20, and there is not sufficient overlap on the downlink for this to support Docomo's low frequency (though the uplink does overlap). There is no overlap at all with KDDI at "800 MHz".

So, even though the EU version has "800 MHz" it won't have any benefit in Japan over the US version. This really won't matter at all for Docomo now because they don't seem to have deployed much LTE service on their "800 MHz" band.

North America: LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 13, 17
Europe: LTE Bands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 20

(To display the above information from the official Japanese Nexus 7 site, click 技術仕様, then スペック情報を表示)

Recommended to avoid KDDI

I stand by my earlier claim that the Nexus 7 will suck on KDDI for the immediate future. There are currently problems with Verizon in the US, another CDMA-2000 carrier, who just like KDDI, has rolled out an LTE network. However, the reason for the Verizon suckage is totally different from the reason why KDDI will suck.

[LTE is an evolution of W-CDMA which is in turn an evolution of GSM. CDMA-2000 is based on CDMA. W-CDMA and CDMA-2000 are both "3G" and they are totally different and incompatible technologies.]

Verizon has the proper network to support the Nexus 7, but they refuse to do so, citing the inability to activate a line of service for the device because it lacks a CDMA-2000 radio. If this is true, it's just temporary and mainly an excuse. At activation, the clerk fills out a form on a computer. There is a field for the CDMA radio ID, and if that field is blank, then the the form can't be submitted. Easy to fix — update the activation system.

There are two reasons to avoid KDDI with the Nexus 7 LTE:
  1. No CDMA-2000 radio in the Nexus 7 LTE, so the device can't fallback to "3G" when LTE is unavailable, which will be...
  2. All the damn time because KDDI's supported LTE network uses Band 1 (2100 MHz), and they recently got busted misrepresenting the coverage, stating Band 1 covered almost everyone when it in fact covered almost nobody at all.
Problem 1 above will remain until Problem 2 is fixed. I'm sure KDDI is building out the Band 1 network as fast as possible. The issue with Verizon just shows how difficult it can be to deal with a CDMA carrier, some of which don't even have RUIM cards.

Nexus 7 as an indicator of unlocked iPhone 5S/C performance with a Docomo Xi SIM

The iPhone 5 technically supported Docomo's Xi network (Band 1, 2100 MHz), but it never really worked. Using an unlocked device with a Docomo contract requires using Mopera as the ISP, as opposed to sp-mode. There has been speculation whether the problems with the Mopera APN were purposely caused by Docomo, Apple, or both.

I think there should be no problems with the iPhone 5S or 5C with a Docomo contract and Mopera as the ISP. I'd speculate that an Apple carrier.plist preference file was denying a connection to Xi with a Docomo (44010) SIM. I could be wrong.

If you can bring an unlocked Nexus 7 LTE to Docomo and use the Mopera ISP with no problems, then it shows that the Docomo is NOT actively preventing non-branded devices from accessing the Xi network.

Docomo iPhone 2-year total cost is the least expensive - for some

Here is a comparison of the total cost (over a two year contract) of the iPhone 5S on the three Japanese carriers. If you believe it, the 2-year cost of a docomo iPhone is in all cases either less expensive, or the same cost, as rivals KDDI and Softbank Mobile (SBM).

This is not quite the case.

As I mentioned previously, docomo is more heavily subsidizing the hardware cost and offering the same subsidy to both existing and new customers. However, docomo's MNP (Mobile Number Portability) discount is only for one year unless:
  • you are either a student (3 years) or
  • you are a returning docomo customer (2 years)
If you are neither, then add ¥780 x 12 months (¥9,360) to the MNP prices in the screenshot above, and over 2 years you'll pay ¥147,960, ¥158,040, or ¥168,120 for the 16, 32 and 64 GB models, respectively. This is exactly ¥9,360 more than the 2-year cost with KDDI and SBM's MNP discount.

The highest and lowest

Considering the full possible range of prices, docomo wins. The absolute lowest 2-year cost of a docomo iPhone 5S is ¥113,400 for a 16 GB model with MNP and student discount. The highest cost is ¥177,480 for an existing customer (or one who doesn't port over a phone number from another carrier) for the 64 GB model.

For KDDI and SBM, the range is ¥138,600 to ¥198,800, which is ¥21,320 to ¥25,200 to more expensive than docomo.

From where does this difference originate? In the case of the most expensive, Docomo is offering the standard Xi voice plan price of ¥780, ¥200 less than the other's voice plan, which adds up to ¥4,800 over 2 years. The remaining ¥15,000 reflects Docomo offering the same hardware subsidy to existing customers. The difference in the least expensive price originates from the data discount offered to students.

Bottom Line

Docomo costs less if:
  • you are a student (absolutely the best deal)
  • you a returning docomo customer
  • you have no existing mobile contract in Japan
  • you are an existing AU or SBM customer
Docomo costs more if:
  • you are not a former customer and porting over a number

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Comparison of iPhone prices between Docomo KDDI and Softbank

Below is a table via engadget Japan comparing the subsidized final cost of the iPhone 5S and 5C for each carrier. NTT Docomo is not surprisingly the most aggressive with pricing, and they're the only one to offer the phone at the same price to both new and existing customers. The Docomo price for the 16GB 5C is not a typo.

Remember, these are subsidized prices. This is not the full retail price that you would owe if you cancelled your contract early. Docomo's unsubsidized prices are significantly higher than the other two carriers. The 16GB 5C costs well over ¥90,000 unsubsidized, which is nearly double the price of the though KDDI and Softbank.

For most people, this won't be an issue, but if there is any chance that you cannot complete your contract obligation, do not buy an iPhone from Docomo. Coming back to the 16 GB 5C, if you use it over the full two years, Docomo will pay you ¥ 6,300, but if you have to cancel after only a few months, you'll owe docomo close to ¥90,000.

iPhone 5S 64GB
iPhone 5S 32GB
iPhone 5S 16GB
iPhone 5C 32GB
iPhone 5C 16GB

Friday, September 13, 2013

Nikkei: Docomo will NOT unlock iPhone

Yup, as we were beginning to expect, Docomo's push for the unlocking of cell phones to allow the switching of SIM cards between carriers was what we thought it was originally: A lame attempt to get the iPhone. After having gone on record and saying they'd unlock all their phones, now that they have the iPhone, it appears that they are not going to unlock it.

From the Nikkei:
It has become clear that the iPhone 5s and 5c will be sold by NTT Docomo with a SIM lock, preventing usage on other carriers. Docomo has decided not to adopt the same SIM unlock service available for it's other smartphones.
It's possible that if there is enough of an uproar, that Docomo could change their mind, but even if that happened, I wouldn't expect it this (fiscal) year.

NTT Docomo iPhone pricing, discount plans announced

The Docomo iPhone site is now live. Pre orders started from 4 pm today.

Docomo is offering up to 3 years of waived base fees, which typically costs ¥780 per month, along with an approximate ¥1,000 discount on the data plan for people port a number (MNP) from another carrier. This brings the minimum cost for those who qualify down to ¥4,725. Existing customers will pay about ¥6,500 per month. Docomo will also buy your Softbank or AU iPhones for up to ¥20,000 (in docomo points).

The price of the cheapest iPhone (16GB 5C) is less than the total subsidy such that an additional ¥525 is deducted from the monthly cost. This means the absolute cheapest monthly cost for an iPhone from Docomo is ¥4,200.

Here are a list (pdf) of important service roll out dates: Available from August 20. sp mode mail and related services from October 1. D marker services will mainly become available within October (like d hits, d shopping d video, etc.). Docomo's subscription music service will actually (surprise surprise) be available, but is not scheduled to start until December.

NOTTV, decoration mail, osaifu-keitai, DCMX mini and Docomo's integrated contacts will not be available.

Basic Fees

  • Base voice fee: ¥780
  • ISP (sp mode): ¥315
  • Data: ¥ 5,460
Total: ¥6,555


Here is the list of discounts for people switching from other carriers.
  • Docomo Best Switch Student Discount: Base voice fee waived for 3 years, ¥1,050 data discount (requires MNP)
  • Docomo Welcome Back Discount: Base voice fee waived for 2 years (requires MNP; must have previously been a Docomo customer)
  • Docomo Best Switch Discount: Base voice fee waived for 1 year (requires MNP).
  • Docomo iPhone trade in Program: 1,000 docomo points per month for up to 20 months (requires MNP)
    • iPhone 5: 20 months (64 GB), 18 months (32 GB), 16 months (16 GB)
    • iPhone 4S: 10 months (64 GB), 8 months (32 GB), 6 months (16 GB)
    • iPhone 4: 5 months (32 GB), 4 months (16 GB), 3 months (8 GB)
    • iPhone 3GS: 2 months
    • iPhone 3G: 1 month
As usual, the deal is not nearly as nice, for existing loyal customers:
iPhone upgrade plan: ¥420 discount per month offsetting the cost of a 16 GB 5s or 32 GB 5c to zero yen
  • Plus iPhone discount: Base voice fee waived for 1 year, data cost of ¥4,935 for one year if you carry an i-mode feature phone AND an iPhone.