I’ve already made clear what I think will happen, and I can sum it up with one word: NOTHING. I don't fully understand what the MIC realistically can and (more importantly) will do to carriers that fail to comply, and everything that I have seen so far indicates that the MIC is narrowly focusing on the just the SIM card.
The MIC is trying to change the status quo of an entire industry, and I'm not convinced that industry will just happily comply. There are a ton of alternate ways to cripple devices to prevent reasonable exchange between carriers, while still abiding by obligatory SIM unlocking guidelines. This should not be news to the MIC – Docomo does it right now (device-side locked tethering APNs, network-side IMEI filters on data connections, carrier mail that only works with docomo phones).
And let's also not forget that, when forced through arbitration with the MIC to create transparent MVNO guidelines, NTT docomo began employing allegedly fuzzy math, putting MVNOs that use the open route at a financial disadvantage to MVNOs who strike closed-door, old fashioned deals with docomo. (Is it really a coincidence that MVNOs with closed-door contracts appear to have have lower latency and faster speeds?)
An Alternate ViewThis morning I read this post by Juggly (that's the name of his site but also what I call him), in which he describes what he thinks will be the result. In summary, his opinion is the exact opposite of mine. Juggly has consistently been a good source of information, which has (apparently) caused him some trouble.
I value Juggly's opinion, so below I'll layout the gist of Juggly's post. I am interested to hear your thoughts on where this is going. Basically, this sounds good if you're the type of person likely to buy a phone at a reasonable retail price with no subsidy. If you rely on carrier subsidies, this is probably bad news for you.
- Rather than focus on locking their stuff down in an attempt to keep customers tied to their networks, carriers will open things up in an attempt to lure customers away from rival carriers.
- This would be done revamping current services like carrier mail to work on any phone, not just on carrier-branded devices, which is basically the case now.
- A lot of handset sales will eventually come to be through separate retailers. These will be unlocked and ready to go on any domestic carrier (i.e., the original Nexus sales model).
- International makers will eventually come to sell phones officially in Japan, reducing costs of handsets traditionally only available in the gray market.