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.

56 comments:

  1. Anyone got tips on which shops have them in stock in Tokyo? Tried ordering online but they require a Japanese credit card to pay (won't accept international credit cards even though there's options for separate billing and shipping addresses).

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  2. It's just based on the billing address, I think. My card from a US bank, but with a Japanese address works, but my other card with a US address doesn't.

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  3. Just to clarify in case anybody wonders: the version sold in Japan in the Play Store is the international version. I had to check just to satisfy my curiosity, and this might save anybody else the bother of having to do the same. ^_^

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  4. Can one just move a JP SIM over to this phone without issues?

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  5. Im new in Japan and li have a nexus 4 that i am using on b-mobile 1 month plan right now. Next couple of weeks i get a VISA and will be able to get a real contract! What are my network options and will i get LTE with the nexus 5 in Japan?

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  6. Docomo, Softbank, Emobile, and any of the MVNOs on Docomo.

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  7. I plan on using b-mobile SIM card on this thing, though I am a bit uneasy whether the service they're on (Docomo's Xi) will be supported on its LTE band list. Anyone got ideas?

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  8. Yes, it is supported, including FOMA plus from Docomo

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  9. Emobile is also going to offer the Nexus5 (maybe with some discounts if you get into 2 year contract)

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  10. Any recommendations on current data plans? I am on a spmode using plan with the Galaxy Nexus. I like Docomo's service and don't really want to change to emobile which will offer plans with the nexus 5. Now, I heard you have to switch to mopera because spmode is restricted to docomo handsets and blargh. At the moment I am paying about 6000 per month for unlimited usage. Is there any plan that will get me the same with mopera for not too much more money.

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  11. Sp mode as an ISP is 300 yen + tax (315). mopera costs only 200 yen more (525). Data plans are unrelated to ISP, so data cost won't change.

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  12. Wow that was fast. Awesome! Time to get my stuff prepped, then!

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  13. Thanks for clarifying.

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  14. Hi David,


    Thanks for the reply! I was expecting it to be Docomo. Im guessing Docomo won't be releasing it inn their network and ill have to get just a sim from them. Is there anywhere i can see the sim only prices if they even do sim only? I guess its all 2 year contracts?

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  15. Is emobile any good? I have never heard of them. Are they a MVNO?

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  16. Awesome thanks!
    One more question (in case you know) Is my local DoCoMo concerned about me using an "outside" 端末 on their network? I ask because I will have to ask them for a micro SIM

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  17. Docomo are happy to sell you SIM-only service if your device has the giteki mark on it (as are Softbank). It isn't particularly prominently placed on their websites though, and no english documents exist at all.

    You can even get true month to month service with no term commitment out of Docomo if you ask (though the price will be about 11-12,000/mo)

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  18. Emobile are a full carrier, not an MVNO. They are disadvantaged by having a very poor set of frequency band allocations.

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  19. Nexus 5 was submitted for japanese regulatory approval and has the giteki mark.

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  20. I asked today at the Yokohama Yodobashi eMobile shop about bringing my own Nexus 5 onto their network, but they surprised me by instead of saying "no", telling me that they would be offering the Nexus 5 this month.


    Would a Nexus 5 from eMobile be locked down in any way? Root, bootloader, etc.?

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  21. eMobile's strength has been unlimited tethering. They specialized in the 3G-to-WiFi tethering pucks. They bought some LTE spectrum a couple of years ago, not so much, I think. Then Softbank bought them about a year ago.


    I heard eMobile was going to start capping monthly data rates to 10GB now (for about 3900 yen) compared to 7GB on docomo for 7,000 yen incl. minimal voice ana few other minimals...) They had been offering a very limited selection of phones, none of which I really liked, but they had no option to bring your own device onto their network.


    If the Nexus 7 from eMobile is not crippled in any way, and if the 3G network alone is has good enough for me in my home and worksites, then I'm making the switch.

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  22. is this now on sale on the Google Play store in Japan? Sold out already? I'm going to Osaka and have a Nexus 5 on order from the Canadian Play store, but not due to ship until after Nov 22.


    Hoping that in Osaka I can get away with just having LTE Band 1 and not Band 3.

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  23. Quick question: I am about to order my Nexus 5. Currently I am using Google Galaxy Nexus on NTT Docomo. Can I just put my SIM card in without any problems? Also, if I want to upgrade to LTE do I just have to pay the extra month and update my contract? thanks!

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  24. Also, this was a great article. I really appreciate it!

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  25. I think this answered my question... sorry about that!
    http://www.japanmobiletech.com/2012/02/ntt-docomo-xi-lte-4g-contract-works-for.html

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  26. That is what I was about to paste in.

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  27. Than you for the answers.


    Does emobile do just data or voice as well?

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  28. So you mean I might be better off buying it with a subsidy phone and then popping the sim card into my nexus?

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  29. It does both. I don't know much about voice plans, though. They do take part in number portability, so your phone number can follow you from/to the other three, big carriers.

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  30. The Emobile site is only in Japanese. The Nexus 5 should arrive mid November.
    It will be using Softbanks 2100mhz LTE band & Emobile's 1700mhz LTE band.
    In addition for 3G Softbanks 900mhz platinum band is included too.
    All Emobile smartphones are unlocked.
    The voice plan is similar to Softbanks "white plan". ¥980. Free call to other Emobile,Softbank or Willcom until 9pm.
    ¥3880 LTE data plan monthly.

    I hope to get one.

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  31. Funny. Come next April when my two-year docomo contract expires, I can get a new 75,000 yen phone for about 0 yen and continue paying 7,000 yen per month for docomo's standard monthly 7GB package. If I don't get the new phone, though, the price still will not change from the standard 7,000 per month. A 75,000 yen phone amortized over 24 months is over 3,000 yen. Docomo could drop my monthly fee almost in half and still be making the same money from me.

    So, I either stay and get a new phone just because I'm being charged for it anyway, or I increase docomo's profit on my account to absurd levels, or I change to eMobile, perhaps pay zero yen in the spring for the then old Nexus 5, and bring my monthly bill down to about what docomo could be charging me (and get 10GB from eMobile instead of 7 from docomo). If eMobile(/softbank) coverage is good enough at my work sites and around my hometown ( http://emobile.jp/area/areamap.html?3 ) I'll change over.



    I wish there was a better resource for seeing the coverage and throughput on the various carriers all over Japan.

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  32. Hi if someone can help with my question. I received my Nexus 5 yesterday I put in my nttdocomo Sim card in I can get voice and SMS but no data. I have an Xi sim card for galaxy s3, I changed the apn to moderate but it still not working. Any suggestion? Should it work right away or do I have to bring it to Docomo store? Thanks

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  33. http://www.japanmobiletech.com/2012/02/ntt-docomo-xi-lte-4g-contract-works-for.html

    You have to change your ISP to mopera U. The best APN to use is then open.mopera.net

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  34. Thanks SBSdroid for for your reply. I did that as you suggested and I have read the article but still not working. Thanks

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  35. You confirmed that you changed the APN to mopera in the original comment, but can you confirm that you also altered your docomo contract (not sure if you can do it online or if you have to visit a shop) to have your ISP changed to Mopera U?


    It would have been sp-mode, probably.


    Mopera is slightly more expense, ¥525/month (last I checked) as opposed to ¥315 for sp-mode.

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  36. Oh Ic what you mean, no I have not changed my contract yet. I'll go to Docomo shop. Thank you very much for your help. Cheers

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  37. Request someone with practical experience of using Emobile or knowing someone who uses Emobile comment on the coverage.


    I checked with Yodobashi folks over the weekend, and they confirmed that the Nexus 5 will be using both the Emobile network as well as the Softbank network (including Platinum band) from coverage point of view. Will this be competitive enough in the Kanto region compared to Docomo network.


    Price-wise it would work out to be 2515 yen / month (500 yen cheaper than my current b-mobile Smartphone SIM), with a higher data limit of 5GB and free calls to certain Emobile/Softbank subscribers.

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  38. You cannot get the Nexus 5 on EMobile unless you guy it with the contract. You cannot get it in the play store and add it later. I spoke to their reps in some of the shops and according to them the phone is NOT sim-locked.


    The Emobile plan is also limited to 5GB with per packet charges afterwards.


    DoCoMo is 7GB with no overcharges (They just drop your speed to 128Kbit for the rest of the month)

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  39. Spoke to shop reps. the phone is not Sim-locked. not sure about anything else. Their plan is also limited to 5GB / mo but it was only 2,500ish per month if you pay for the phone up front. Otherwise it was about 4,000ish


    Personally I am going to get it from play store just to make 100% sure the phone is mine; then put it on B-Mobile or DoCoMo.


    Softbank and E-Mobile are really annoying me with their inflexibility.

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  40. I am currently on Softbank with Iphone 4 contract, and have not been unlocked. Is it possible to use the SIM with the Nexus 5 and just add the APN details as stated here?


    http://www.unlockit.co.nz/mobilesettings/settings.php?id=87

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  41. Hi SBSdroid, just an update I called nttdocomo English toll free line and I was able to register to MOPERA over the phone and the phone is connecting with no problem. Thanks again.

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  42. So I'm kinda similar to this guy. I have Xi service with my SC-06D. I switched my ISP to Mopera U, but I can't seem to get LTE on the Mopera APN. HSDPA and 3G work fine, but when I try to switch on LTE, I lose all connections (HSDPA and 3G no longer work, either). I can only get LTE on the sp-mode APN.


    My only thought is that sp-mode didn't get cancelled properly. Anyway to do this from the MyDocomo site?

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  43. The 1400 yen per month price difference for with the phone versus without over two years would be 33600. That is actually a bit below cost compared to buying it upfront. Still, 5GB. eMobile used to have much, much higher data allotments. From my perspective, softbank has screwed eMobile out of their original market.



    If I were to stay with docomo, I think the thing for me to do would be to buy the N5 direct from google, renew my docomo contract next spring and go ahead and get the most popular phone at the time, even an iPhone, and then just resell it to squeeze as much cash from transaction as I can. My monthly bill will not change new phone or not. A 40,000 yen resell would effectively lower my monthly bill to 5,500 yen. 5GB at 3900 or 7 at 5500. That is almost the same price, and I think that price on docomo includes some voice, not much, and eMobile might be extra beyond that.



    I'd like to try an MVNO like bMobile, but it seems like all their data plans are tailored to short-term visitors and very light use.

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  44. So, I get my N5 today, and find that my b-mobile 3G sim card is not compatible with the device...SIM cards from my college work fine though...Not sure how to fix it...

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  45. Could be that you bought the non-LTE version of the SIM card? Presuming you bought the Sumaho package?

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  46. yes, I am suing the Sumaho package. Are you suggesting that N5 is only compatible with the LTE SIM card?

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  47. Hey Guys, So i bought the nexus 5 on nov 1st from Japan play store and it was shipped to me on the 3rd! Anyways i already have a nexus 4 on b-mobile. Now im trying to get the nexus 5 to work on B-mobile. However, I have not been able to get the phone to work. I changed the sim APN settings to what my sim card says and it still doesnt work. Does anyone know or have any idea what to do?

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  48. I need to know this as i also have the Bmobile 3g micro sim. I was using it with my nexus 4 and it worked fine. However, i cant seem to get it to work on my nexus 5.

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  49. This seems to be commonly reported issue on Japanese forums. 3G only SIMs from Docomo (or MVNOs) are not working with the Nexus5. However, LTE sims are working without any issues.


    Need to see whether the behavior is same for all 3G sims (i.e. Softbank or other networks)

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  50. I think my b-mobile SIM is compatible with LTE, since I can upgrade to its LTE offer without switching the SIM (as said on b-mobile website). In any case, I have applied for the LTE upgrade, and should be able to test it on 11/12.

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  51. Can the same be applied with a Softbank Iphone sim contract? I want to buy the Nexus 5 but unsure whether itll work. Do I need to put in the APN "smile world" ?

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  52. Do you have to physically show them the giteki mark, or will printing this page suffice do you think? http://androidlover.net/smartphone/nexus-five/nexus-5-lg-d821-certification-of-conformance-to-technical-standards.html

    I ask because it really doesn't feel like the back of my Nexus 5 is supposed to come off... yikes.

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  53. Settings -> About Phone -> Regulatory information

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  54. I live in Japan (Okinawa) but travel to the States and will likely be going back for good in 1-2 years. I would really like the buy the North American model to have 4G in the States long term, but I'd hate not to have it at all here. Is anybody getting decent 4G with a North American model, especially in Okinawa?

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  55. Did you ever get your phone situation sorted? I was thinking of getting the NA version as well. I have an iPhone 5 with AU but I'm not particularly happy with it.

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  56. Well, I'm back in Japan and tried to get my plan changed over to Xi today and get a new sim but the guy at DoCoMo wouldn't do it for me since my phone doesn't have the certified for Japan mark on it. Does the international version? If not, how did you guys do it?

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