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 @docomo.ne.jp 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 mopera.net 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 mopera.net as the APN. It will most likely happen automatically. Alternatively, you can use open.mopera.net, 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)


  1. I signed up for Mopera U, but I'm guessing I have to force it to stop sp-mode somewhere on the MyDocomo site?

  2. You can leave it there in case you want to easily switch back to your docomo phone that works with sp-mode, but if you do you'll still get billed 315 yen for it. It's up to you.

  3. Cool. Also, my SC-06D is unlocked, rooted, and has a custom ROM on it. Should I be having problems connecting to LTE through the Mopera APN? If I turn off LTE off, then 3G/HSDPA work fine. But when I turn on LTE, nothing works and I get no mobile data.

  4. Does spmode.ne.jp work on that phone? If mopera service is added to that sim/account, the mopera.net APN should work. Just guessing, it might be an issue with your custom ROM...

  5. Also might want to try the other APNs like mpr2.bizho.net.

  6. Hi! Just like to know whether the Xi LTE (Mopera U) is running fine on Nexus 5? Thanks

  7. So those of us with current Xi sims with our GSM Galaxy Nexus will need a micro sim. Will DoCoMo just swap this regular sim for the micro? Or will I have to dish out the 2100 yen?

  8. yes. that is the point of this post.

  9. Anytime you get a new SIM from Docomo, it costs money (unless the original one was defective - happened to me before). I'd just cut down the SIM.

  10. sp-mode APN works with LTE/HSDPA/3G.
    Mopera APNs (mopera.net and open.mopera.net) work only with HSDPA/3G only. Turning LTE on disables all data.
    And as far as I can tell, none of the other APNs on my SIM (bizho, 128k, mopera.flat, etc) work for anything.

    It could be my ROM/Phone combination. People always think I'm crazy when I tell them I have crappy service. Maybe I'm the crazy one. Guess I'll find out in the next couple of days when my Nexus 5 gets here.

  11. 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?

    Can you release these docomo steps with B-mobile steps please?

  12. More details would be helpful. Which b-monile SIM is it? What does not work - voice, data or both? What is the network mode you are using on Nexus 5?

  13. Anyone who wants to switch from sp-mode to moperaU you should wait until this friday. New 6 month free campaign for non-current moperaU subscribers.

  14. I am using the "phone Sim" voice + data It has calling, text and data i have the unlimited data limited to 320kps. So everything including Calling, text and data do not work. It only says emergency calls only. I am using the network APN bmobile.ne.jp username bmobile@spd password bmobile and pap or chap setting
    I also tried all the other APN's and they do not work. These are the settings i use on my nexus 4 and it works great.

  15. OK, as of 5 minutes ago up and running with LTE on the Xi SIM from my Docomo Galaxy S4.

    1. Log into www.mydocomo.com and sign up for moperaU service. I automatically got offered the 6 months free campaign.

    2. Put the SIM into the Nexus 5 and power it up.

    That's it. The out-of-box scripts automatically set the mopera.net APN and LTE popped up immediately on my signal strength icon.

  16. I commented on the other post, but this is a reported issue on all Japanese forums that 3G only SIMs from Docomo (or MVNO) is not working. I guess that as of now, the only option for you is to get it converted to LTE if you want to use it in Nexus5

  17. David, I am in the same situation, havea a Docomo Galaxy S4 but want to switch to the Nexus 5. Do you know if you will have to pay an additional "Xi 7GB plan" or something like that or do you expect only to have the extra cost for the Mopera U subscription (once the 6 months run out)? (I assume you still have some subscription time left on your 2 year Galaxy S4 subscription)

  18. Data plan is totally seperate to ISP selection. I have the Xi 3GB plan currently.

    Once I'm satisfied that everything is working I will cancel sp-mode which will cut my bill by 315/mo. After 6 months I will switch the moperaU to moperaU light plan which will bring the cost back up by 324/mo (the consumption tax increase).

    I'm undecided on whether I'm going to keep my S4 as a second phone for my roaming SIM or sell it off.

  19. Thank you for the clarification! Sounds like a good setup!

  20. Indeed. I realized having read it completely. Thank you.. ;)

  21. Thanks for the quick guide. Same situation here... ;)

  22. Hi, I know this is not directly related to the post but is the NFC in the Nexus 5 compatible with the Suica (Felica) service?

  23. No. No Google Wallet either.

  24. Thanks for the reply!

  25. Yeah, my wife's bmobile plan is the 3G aeon voice plan.

    Sucks that she has to give up the 1000 yen/mo calling allowance when she converts to LTE.

  26. Hey, guys. I have a similar question. I want to buy a Nexus 5 and thought about using it with a B-Mobile data only sim card. Does anyone know if this is going to work? It says with a 3G sim card it doenst seem to work, but what about a 4G sim card from b-mobile? Any comments on that, i would highly appreciate.

  27. So, can anyone confirm that N5 is working with the LTE SIM of b-mobile (or other MVNO) here in Japan?

  28. I saw a comment on twitter that an OCN LTE data SIM worked.

  29. I won't bore you all with the horror story of my trip to the Docomo Shop last week to get information that was so well communicated in the last couple of posts on this blog. The fact that they claimed to not know that the Nexus 5 existed, should give some indication of the well informed professionals they have working there. Thanks again for your excellent blog.

    Got my N5 on Wednesday, but am going to wait until Christmas to open it :D

  30. A step by step summary of how to do all this for those with limited japanese:


  31. Thanks for the info! I also upgraded my 3G plan to LTE plan, which will be effective on 11/13. Will report here.

  32. Hi, so my nexus arrived a couple of days ago and I'm now looking for a plan. Went into Softbank & AU yesterday and they could not help me. At Docomo they can give me a contract with 7gig (3g) per month and without calling credits starting from 7280 yen/month. A bit steep i thought...
    Is anyone aware of a LTE bmobile data & voice plan that works for the nexus 5?

  33. no, don't do that. The person that told you that at the docomo shop is dumb. Go somewhere else.

    You want:
    1) Xi (LTE) not FOMA (3G) because a) there is an extra charge for non-docomo phones with FOMA (not with Xi), b) there is a bug that prevents the Nexus from working with 3G plans and c) Xi is MUCH faster.
    2) mopera U light (or standard if the 6 month campaign is going on).
    3) Xi Talk 24 for free calling to docomo mobiles.

    That should cost about 7000 to 8000 yen in total, not 7280 just for data.

  34. Do you think American Nexus 5s will fair any better with bmobile? I have one on the way. Thanks.

  35. Hi, thanks for your reply!
    After talking to emobile i've decided to return my phone to the google play store and buy it directly from them instead. They will release it next week friday and have a voice & data plan starting at about 2800 yen if you buy the phone upfront.
    It should save me about 1200 usd over two years and allow me to buy another unlocked phone for my travels later on and still save money...
    Haven't read all the small print yet and might be overseeing something though!

  36. I just sign with docomo and got a iphone 5c, just wondering if i can use the 5c nano sim with nexus 5. I understand i need a adapter but the data plan for iphone is different with the plan provided to smart phones. Anyone have any idea?

  37. Arturo Javier Garza CortezNovember 13, 2013 at 4:57 PM

    I got the registrationand the mopera Uへようこそ sms but i have not data :(

    can you help me?, i have the Xi 7 GB Plan but not data over mopera