iphone in japan with docomo

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by dreamsandart, Dec 3, 2008.

  1. dreamsandart macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2004
    I would really like to use an iphone in Japan with the docomo system. Along with my wife and our docomo 'family plan' we now have free calls and emails between us and I'd like to continue. But the iphone would just be so much easier to use for me than the japanese phones. How do I go about doing this? And if it is possible where can I buy an iphone without have to buy into a setup service plan?

    Thanks for any help,
  2. benzslrpee macrumors 6502


    Jan 1, 2007
  3. AppleinJapan macrumors regular

    Apr 10, 2005
    If you already have a docomo slim card then all you need is a JB iphone - plus I believe that you'll have to configure the mail setup so you can receive docomo's mail. Ebay is your best bet. You can't buy an unlocked one here in Japan (on yahoo auctions, they go for over 100,000 yen)

    The simplest way if you really want an iphone would be to change over to softbank as they are cheaper by far and I get full bars on my phone. For the family, you could all get the white plan or double white plan. Its cheap
  4. dreamsandart thread starter macrumors member

    Apr 11, 2004
    I already have docomo service and phone so there isn't any point in getting Softbank too. I just wouldn't mind the iphone for ease of interface use - in English - and the video/music features. Japanese phone's interface are not the easiest to get around on, especially if your Japanese is limited.

    Doesn't seem to be an easy or sure thing switch with the SIM card from the docomo phone/service. And finding an iphone jailbroke at a decent price...?

    thanks for any help you can point my way.
  5. QuarterSwede macrumors G3


    Oct 1, 2005
    Colorado Springs, CO
    Jailbreaking DOES NOT unlock the iPhone. It only allows unsigned apps to run.
  6. Tokiopop macrumors 68000


    Dec 6, 2008
    West Yorkshire, UK
  7. Each macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2008
    I was in your exact situation 5 months ago. I'm now using an iPhone 3G 16gb with Docomo's network. Here's a screen shot of my iPhone settings to prove it.

    I purchased my iPhone from eBay (not cheap) along with a Gevey SIM proxy card. Using my Foma SIM card everything works on my iPhone except GPS (not sure if this feature even works on legit Softbank's iPhones). Docomo mail does not work either because you need iMode to access Docomo mail; I use gmail instead. Everything else works like a charm: 3G, Maps, receive calls, call outs, SMS.

    So...yes you CAN use the iPhone with Docomo and keep your family talk plan.

    Edited: Changed up my theme a little.

    Attached Files:

  8. bowser1111 macrumors newbie

    Jan 20, 2009
    Hey there! I'm REALLY interested in getting an iPhone set up on Docomo! I tried to PM you, but the forum system doesn't seem to be working right... can you please send me an email? I'm bbseoul2003 AT yahoo.com ... i'm really interested in asking you more about the functions and if they work or not...
  9. Daveychan macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009
    Hello - help for me too please!


    I too have a 16G iphone that i'm now using on the NTT Docomo network.

    I'm having a LOT of trouble getting SMS to work, what is the trick to setting this up?

    Also, you mentioned that the mail system will no longer work because of Docomo's "iMode"... is there anyway around this yet? If we knew the SMTP server names, etc, wouldn't we be able to get mail okay?

    Any help would be much appreciated! :)

    Please and Thanks!


  10. Each macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2008
    I've never had any problems with my SMS. It worked previously with a proxy SIM and now it works with yellowsn0w without any special settings.

    As for Docomo mail, after further research I discovered that Docomo DOES offer a service that allows you to access your docomo mail via the web. For 300yen/month you can log on imode.net and check your docomo mail. However, this is very unstable; Safari on my iPhone kept crashing when logged on to iMode.net. I had no trouble when using a PC though. Not sure if this is a Safari problem or the iMode.net web site is not designed for mobile phones? Therefore, I've cancelled that service and back to using Gmail.
  11. Daveychan macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009

    Thank you so much for your reply!

    Sadly, i'm still not having any luck with SMS working... the bar for "Sending" goes almost all the way and then says "Error sending message".

    I found some advice about APN settings, but that didn't seem to make a difference either...

    I'll look into the mail idea.. maybe the online system will let me auto-forward mail to my gmail or something... (i'm trying to avoid telling everyone i know a new email address)

    Thanks again for your fast reply!

    If there is anything else you could suggest, please let me know!

  12. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    Japan doesn't use GSM. Japan is UTMS-only, with PDC being phased out.
  13. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    This is only true if everyone you talk to uses Softbank, and you do not need to make calls between 2100 and 0100 regardless if the receiver has Softbank service or not.

    The White Plan cost 980 yen per month. Each minute to a non-Softbank phone or during 2100 to 0100 would cost you 42 yen per minute. Very expensive. Even with the Double White program, which costs 1980 yen per month, still cost you 21 yen per minute.

    Note, some of us call non-Softbank users most of the time. Plus if you have been a DoCoMo user for a long time, the discount rates are really nice. That is why some of us would prefer to keep our DoCoMo plans.

    Sweet. Thanks for sharing.
  14. Daveychan macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009
    Follow up

    Just info for anyone like me who is having trouble or trying to setup their iphones with docomo stuff:

    As posted earlier, the SMS does/will not work so hot - in my inquiries, i discovered that SMS in Japan is ONLY between phone users from the SAME phone service (Docomo to Docomo, Softbank to Softbank) etc... You CAN SMS with people outside of Japan however! (Docomo will only route outside of Japan and internally to other Docomo users.) There may be some packages or extra possible things to purchase to change this, but the Docomo guys laughed when i suggested they let their clients SMS other people not using Docomo phones. :mad:

    Next, i was given advice about possibly trying the online mail service for my docomo.ne.jp mail account here in this forum, so i could set up something to get my mail with my iphone. NO JOY! i had the account set up (it's now 200 yen a month btw), but to be VERY honest here.. it is a total CRAP system and i would not recommend it to anyone but the most patient and those in complete dire need to check their mail online. there is no way to auto-forward or get the mail out of the system, short of sitting in front of a PC and waiting (forever) for all the frame windows to get created and finish loading up everything and then actually mailing the mail to some other account. This interface is NOT to be confused with ANY 21st century GUI you may have seen on the most simplest of mail programs. And no.. i spoke at length about trying to get a POP or IMAP or forwarding service or something with the Docomo gang.... only to be smiled at and politely informed that "No, we do not offer that service at this time." ARG!

    So... looks like i'm going to have to setup a gmail or yahoo mail account in order to stay in touch with my 'gang' here in Tokyo.

    Best of luck to all and be sure to hollar at me if i can return the favor of advice or help in anyway.

    Thanks much to all who have taken the time to post here and share their information and knowledge.


  15. neesh4000 macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2009
    I am currently using the iphone with docomo and was having the same SMS problem, thank you for clearing that up.
    I was wondering if docomo iphone users are able to access the internet at anytime like softbank users. I can only connect to the internet via wifi. I purchased a mopera (mzone) account so I could access the internet, but service is limited, train stations, cafe, etc.
    Is there is a certain setting I need to input into the phone?
    I ask because everyone on this forum seems to be able to access their emails from their phones at anytime, like I said I need to be in a wifi area.
    I would appreciate any help
    Thank you very much.
  16. Each macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2008
    With a Mopera account you can connect to the internet anywhere there's a phone signal. What you need to do is change some settings on your iPhone. To do this go to SETTINGS --> GENERAL --> NETWORK --> CELLULAR DATA NETWORK --> (APN = mopera.net; Username = your username; Password = your password)
    Ensure that both Enable 3G and Data Roaming are turned on.

    Word of advice. Be mindful of how much data you're downloading. Unlike Softbank, Docomo does not have an unlimited data package (at least not for the iPhone). Downloading 35mb of data can cost you as much as 6,000yen.

    Hope this helps.

  17. neesh4000 macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2009
    Thanks so much for the tip each. I will input the information and hopefully it will work out. I had one more question, how do I enable the mail to notify me that I have mail in my in box? Example, when I get a missed phone call or a voice mail, a little number pops up next to the icon notifying me that i have a missed call or voice mail. Anyway thanks again!
  18. Each macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2008
    Assuming that you already have an email account configured on your iPhone, make changes to the following settings.

    Got to SETTINGS --> FETCH NEW DATA --> make the selection of your choice (every 15 minutes, 30 minutes or hourly).

    The phone will check for new data at those intervals. When there's new mail the little number icon will pop up next to your mail icon. I have mine set to every 30 minutes.

  19. Daveychan macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009

    Wow! Very cool (but frustrating) to see others with the EXACT problem that i've been having!

    No, i cannot get mail or internet access either with my Docomo cell connection. I've been forced to getting my mail at home with my wireless or occasionally getting lucky with unsecured wi-fi places in the city. LOL - Not a very good solution when i'm trying to email my girlfriend to tell her why i'm 30 minutes late while on the train. :D

    I'll check out the mopera tip and see how it works for me! Thanks for the advice! I'll have to promise myself to NEVER do anything except mail with that connection, or face the wrath of a giant bill at the end of the month.

    As for the instant mail notification, here is what i did. First, you have to completely give up any dreams of keeping your docomo.ne.jp mail address. Next, Yahoo mail is supposed to PUSH mail automatically, but it was not working well for me, and after a little research i discovered that many, many others have been having this same problem.

    So what i did, was setup my gmail account to auto forward all of my mail (and then mark it as "read") to my web2mail address (sign up here for free here: www.web2mail.com) which DOES PUSH very, very well to my iphone. (Almost instantly!)

    Next, I made my iphone use this new web2mail address as my "Default Account". I told my friends to use my new gmail mail as my phone email and when they send me mail there, it auto-forwards to my web2mail, which in turn immediately pushes it to my iphone. I know, i know, you are thinking "What a pain in the butt." and "doesn't that take long?" But no, it was easy and it was really almost instantaneous. I tested it for hours to see if it was going to work okay for me and i'm now satisfied that it's my best solution. (Until the gmail people start a PUSH service.)

    However, whenever i REPLY to people, i always have to change my FROM to my gmail account. So maybe it would be better to simply use web2mail as your main phone mail address and forget about gmail completely. (Note that web2mail does offer a "premium service" for about $5 a month to allow you to use other mail accounts as an automatic FROM, but i'm holding out for gmail to start PUSHing for free.;))

    I'll give the mopera a try and see if that allows me to start getting my mail with my cell signal.

    Hope this information was useful!

  20. Daveychan macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009
    Update about Mzone

    Okay, i just came back from my local Docomo shop and here is the scoop...

    You will need to get the MZone package, which has a total price of 1,575 yen a month. As posted earlier, this is wi-fi service for most train stations, subway stations, and a scattering of restaurants and coffee shops (sadly, not the Starbucks near my house:().

    Since you are going in with a Docomo phone, they will tell you that you only need the FOMA service which uses Mopera. It is about 500 yen and your initial impulse will be to just get that. LOL - i did this, and when i tried to logon to the Docomo wi-fi in the shop, it was successful, but i still could not get data, check my mail, or get online, etc. So i u-turned right back into the shop and told them that i wanted to make sure i could get online with my laptop. They said, "Ohhhhhh....." So then we re-did my paperwork and included the MZone service which bumped the price up about 1,000yen a month (which i described above.) You will then have TWO UserIDs/Passwords. One for "each" service. On the iPhone, you will actually need BOTH setup properly to get online automatically whenever you are near a hotspot.

    I use an application called "Easy Wi-Fi" which remembers my logon information for the Mopera service (i'm sure there are other applications or ways of doing this part), and use the regular iPhone's Wi-Fi settings (under Settings->Wi-Fi) for the MZone service.

    I asked many questions about the charges for these services. The guy in the shop told me that if you are using the MZone connection, you are basically unlimited use (no charges for data at all), but if you use the Mopera service, there WILL BE a data use charge.

    Of course, i've only had this for two hours now, so the real proof will be seen on my phone bill at the end of next month. ;)

    All in all, i think i'm happy with this solution. I successfully received/sent mail several times on the train ride home and i was never asked to re-input passwords or userIDs.

    Hope this is useful!
  21. neesh4000 macrumors newbie

    Feb 10, 2009
    wow! thanks for all your help! My phone is actually working the way I hoped. Just got to remember to be careful with data. Might try the mzone package.
    Anyway thank you again, I really appreciate all you folks taking the time to help each other out.
  22. Daveychan macrumors newbie

    Jan 31, 2009
    A quick comment about 3G with Docomo

    I was reading up on ways people are switching between wi-fi and "cellular data network" in order to save money on their data charges at the end of the month. It seems that for most people in the States, they can simply turn off their 3G (using Boss Preferences) and then their iPhones will never use the "cellular data network" unless they switch it back on. I thought i'd give this a try today and i realized something i think is pretty important.

    If you turn your 3G off, you will lose the ability to use the Docomo phone system ENTIRELY!!! Apparently the 3G system here is essential to using your iPhone, and turning it off will not be a solution for us to ensure that we don't use the Mopera system if we are not connected to a wi-fi network. (An obvious thing after you do this once, but important to share this i think.)

    The iPhone is SUPPOSED to only use the "cellular data network" when a wi-fi network is unavailable for data transfers, but i'm not convinced it will really do this every time i'm in range of a wi-fi network that i can connect to. I say this because even with the latest Mzone service i've added to my Docomo plan, the connection is NOT instantaneous and i've found myself walking back and forth on the subway platform trying to find a sweet spot for it to actually get mail i know is waiting for me. If i hadn't found the sweet spot, i'm sure the mail would have already been pulled down and i would've been charged for the data packets. I've been SO very tempted to just give up and add my Mopera UserID/Password information to the "cell data network" setup box (under Settings-->General-->Network-->Cellular Data Network), but i'm still currently at "0 bytes" Sent/Received for the month, and I want to see what my phone bill is going to look like.

    By the way, if you turn your EDGE off, you can still make calls, get online with wi-fi, etc. So you might want to do this just for sake of saving a little bit of battery power.

    For those with iPhones on the Docomo network here in Japan, PLEASE please add your comments and experiences and advice to this forum! It is very difficult to find any real good information out there (i'm assuming because there are so few of us doing this), so it would be great if we could all pool our ideas to help each other out and promote better ways of doing things!

    Please and Thanks!

  23. wrid macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009
    Some advice please...


    I'm new to this forum and very happy to find this info at last. I've got a jailbroken Iphone that I'm using with my Docomo sim when here in Japan. It's a regular Docomo Foma sim supplied by my employer. It works perfectly for normal phone calls but so far I haven't been able to get data access over 3g. I've been looking for APN settings and now understand that the server should be mopera.net. However, in order to use this service I understand that I need a user name and a password. The person who registered this sim card for me had no clue when I asked him about this so now I want to ask you; is there any particular service (data service) that I need to sign up to with my existing contract in order to get this service and login details?

    I asked him to sign me up for Mopera but he came back from the shop telling me that if I sign up for that my sim card will only be good for sending and receiving data and I won't be able to make or receive any phone calls any longer. This sounds a bit weird to me and I'm worried the lady that assisted him was not quite sure what he was asking for. I think we got a little bit lost in translation.

    Could someone tell me exactly what it is I need to ask for/sign up for in order to be able to use the cellular data connection with Docomo. It would be greatly appreciated!
  24. Each macrumors newbie

    Dec 13, 2008
    Setting Up an Account with Mopera.net


    To stay discreet and not provoke any suspicion by the docomo staff, I did all of my mopera contract online http://www.mopera.net/. My Japanese is not very good so my wife had to help me. Signing up with mopera will not affect your current phone plan.

    To set up a mopera account online require some work. First, you'll need your original docomo phone that your SIM card came with. Next, you will need a USB cable designed specifically to connect your docomo phone to your computer. I bought mine for 700yen at Yamadadenki. Then you'll need to download docomo's "connection manager" at the following site http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/support/utilization/application/foma/connection_manager/index.html. This connection is required because mopera needs to download some information from your SIM so that when you log on via 3G network the server will know that it's you. In other words, not anybody can log on using your ID and password; it has to be from your SIM. Once you're set up and connected you can got to http://www.mopera.net/service/plan/index.html to pick a plan and sign up. I went with the "Lite" version because I don't need their email service and it costs only 300yen per month.

    Once you're signed up with mopera you will be asked to create a login ID and password of your choice. Use that information and set your APN settings.

    A side note for others who are nervous about how much data charges they're racking up. Sign up for "MyDocomo"; its free. Log on daily to see how much data you've used and total charges accumulated.

    Hope this helps.

  25. wrid macrumors newbie

    Feb 20, 2009

    Thanks for the instructions, I got it working today after dloading the software and signing up with the help of a japanese friend. Thanks for the help!

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