Here is an excerpt from the shorther Japanese version of the article because the English version is only hosted in a place to which I no longer link.
On the 27th, the MIC decided to strengthen guidelines requiring the removal of SIM locks that prevent handsets sold by mobile carriers to be used on different networks. Unlocking guidelines were set in June 2010, but there has been little change because the MIC put off making them compulsory. As a result, the MIC has determined that it must radically review current guidelinesThe article goes on to say that the MIC plans to convene a panel of experts from the 30th to devise a detailed strategy by the end of the current fiscal year (next March).
The English version goes on to talk about separation of subsidy and service cost:
In Japan, by contrast, the major carriers put SIM locks on their most popular handsets and offer sizable discounts on them to lure new subscribers. Smartphone users whose Internet use is limited and long-time subscribers are both upset about the expensive monthly rates being used to finance such discounts.Thing is, the MIC has already obliged carriers to separate hardware discounts from monthly fees. Those of you who have been in Japan for a number of years should clearly remember the hoopla surrounding the death of the zero-yen keitai that this was supposed to cause, and when SIM unlocking was first debated, Softbank used the impact on handset sales as justification for keeping SIM locks.
|The Gloom and Doom cometh!|
So carriers are supposed to separate subisdy costs from service costs but consumers complain that they don’t do this. There’s always wiggle room for the carriers. This time, imagine that somehow the MIC manages to make carriers unlock all phones. In response, they’ll just lock down the APNs like Apple does with the majority of their iPhones, making it nearly impossible (without hacking and warranty voiding) to get a data connection on another carrier. Docomo already cripples tethering in this exact way when their unlocked phones are used with any other provider, even with MVNOs using Docomo’s network.