Moving to Japan is iPhone service there?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by linesma, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. linesma macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    #1
    I am getting transferred to Japan this fall, and I was wondering if there is a service provider available there for the iPhone. If there is, how much would the service cost? I just got my phone 9 months ago, and I absolutely love it. I would hate to have to leave it with my dad for 2-3 years.

    Thanks

    linesma
     
  2. Dr. Cabrera macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2008
    Location:
    Los Angeles
    #2
    I was there this winter break

    Softbank Carries the Iphone 3G there

    I have no idea about pricing


    I would probably recommend you go with another phone though, the iPhone is quite limited in what it can do compared to other Japanese Cell phones I saw ( streaming tv, etc)
     
  3. linesma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    #3
    Thanks for the information. I will see if I can find the company online.
     
  4. daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #4
    This will give you an idea...

    http://www.softbankmobile.co.jp/en/news/press/2008/20080623_01/index.html

    Softbank has since introduced a new, 2-tier pricing model, but the lower tier limits the data usage to such a ridiculously low amount, anyone who casually browses the Internet and checks mail via 3G will exceed that limit. The good news is that they are one integrated plan, so exceeding the limit will automatically move you to the higher tier, which is mentioned in the press release.

    As for the lack of "streaming TV" (called "one-seg"), there is a third-party product that you can buy and plug into the iPhone to enable it. If you really want it, that is. I personally believe it'd be a waste of money.
     
  5. linesma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    #5
    Sweet! Thank you for the information. I checked them out and found it is going to cost me just as much there as here in the States. I know I do not use the iPhone 3G to its fullest potential, and the streaming of TV is not a priority. I will have to check that out though, I am a big time sucker for gadgets of the electronics variety.

    Thanks

    linesma
     
  6. pauld macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Tokyo (London for the holidays!)
    #6
    I'm also hopefully moving there in September.
    What I would like to know is, has anyone had any luck with a "sim only" voice/data contract, compatible with iPhone and at a not exceedingly extortionate rate?
    It would chafe a tad to have to "buy" another iPhone and go into a two year contract when I may not even be there that long.

    Thanks a lot.
     
  7. daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #7
    I belong to the "iPhone" group in the Japanese SNS called "Mixi." There I see a lot of people who say they bought SIM-free iPhones (like those legally sold in Hong Kong, Italy, Belgium, etc) and were able to use them with Softbank's "plain-vanilla" SIMs. I'm not sure if any of them has tried it with an unlocked U.S. iPhone. Do you want me to ask there?
     
  8. linesma thread starter macrumors newbie

    Joined:
    Jan 31, 2009
    #8
    daihard,

    Your last post raised a question in my mind. Would my standard iPhone 3G from the US work on their network and their plans?

    Thanks,

    linesma
     
  9. daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #9
    The simple answer is "no." The iPhones sold in the U.S. are "locked" to the AT&T special SIMs and will not recognize other SIMs. The only way around it is to "unlock" it. Theoretically speaking, you should be able to use an unlocked iPhone with any carrier's SIM anywhere in the world.

    As far as I know, unlocking just involves getting the right tool (via Internet) and taking the right steps, but I'm no expert in that field.
     
  10. pauld macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Tokyo (London for the holidays!)
    #10
    Actually that would be really useful - Not having a Japanese phone-number yet, I can't sign up for mixi!

    Thanks a lot,
    Paul
     
  11. sergiuria macrumors 6502a

    sergiuria

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    Oct 21, 2008
    Location:
    Near a bunch of T-Rex
    #11
  12. daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #12
    I just asked one of the knowledgeable group members. He lives in the U.S. but goes to Japan frequently on business. I do believe he has unlocked both first-gen and current iPhones and successfully used them with Softbank SIMs. I'll let you know as soon as he replies to me.
     
  13. pauld macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 8, 2003
    Location:
    Tokyo (London for the holidays!)
    #13
    Sweet! Now all I need to find out is if there is a "sim only" contract w/reasonable data rates and I'm good to go.

    Thanks a lot for your help.
     
  14. Gix1k macrumors 68030

    Gix1k

    Joined:
    Jun 16, 2008
    #14
    Tell me what you do that transfer you to Japan?
     
  15. daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #15
    Here's what I got from him.
    1. Softbank offers two types of SIM. One is the generic "silver" SIM that works with all GSM phones, including the iPhone. They do not officially say it works with the iPhone, but it does. The other is the iPhone-only "black" SIM, which is designed exclusively for (and works only with) the iPhone.
    2. Your unlocked iPhone should work with either the "silver" or the "black" SIM. However, Softbank may refuse to sell you a "black" SIM unless your iPhone was purchased in Japan. The guy says different Softbank stores tell you different stories, so you may need to shop around. No problem to purchase a "silver" SIM because it's not tied to any particular phone.
    3. You should be able to choose a rate plan with the "silver" SIM that's comparable to that offered with the "black" SIM, which is the iPhone plan - i.e. unlimited data.

    Hope this helps. If you have any further questions, please let me know.
     
  16. evilboy macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 12, 2007
    #16
    Wrong, there is no GSM service in Japan, Both black and Silver simcards work with sim-unlocked iPhone. iPhones in Japan are simlocked to the "black simcard". Black simcard is tied with the special data-plan for iPhone with the silver ones you can only get standard data plans that are very expensive if you use a lot of data.
     
  17. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #17
    Okay a few things about Japan:

    1) You will probably end up carrying two phones.

    2) The iPhone is awesome, but it lacks some features that are "standard" in the Japanese market leading you to need a non-iPhone phone (see 1).

    3) All phones sold in Japan including the iPhone are required to turn into mini-mecha. This is a "hidden" feature that isn't available outside Japan.

    4) There are accessories in Japan that will turn your iPhone into anything including a fully functioning mobile toaster oven complete with pizza baking function.

    5) You will need to say BAKA while looking directly at random people on the street in Japan every 15 seconds or your iPhone will go to sleep.

    --

    Jokes aside you might want to read up on mobile phones in Japan before you go. It is like a whole different world over there. :D
     
  18. daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #18
    Yeah, I should have said "W-CDMA" instead of "GSM." I realize that there's been no 2G GSM service in Japan. Thanks for the clarification. :)
     
  19. daihard macrumors 6502a

    daihard

    Joined:
    Feb 19, 2008
    Location:
    Seattle, WA
    #19
    Respectfully disagree with (1) and (2). I know a whole lot of people who only carry an iPhone very happily over there. As far as I know, the iPhone lacks no "standard" feature that matters. Osaifu-keitai can arguably matter, but one-seg definitely doesn't.

    I do agree that the cellphone world in Japan is a whole lot different than here (and probably anywhere in the world). I'm not sure if it's in a positive way, though. ;)
     
  20. LinMac macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Oct 28, 2007
    #20
    It is hard to say. I had a hard time without an extra phone the last time I was there, but I was carrying a Treo 650 instead of an iPhone at the time. The limitations were similar though even though I had the Asia Pacific firmware loaded with all the goodies like emoji.

    The number one issue for me that made me get another phone was the payments that can be taken directly from a phone. I had no idea how much easier everything would be until a friend showed me how it all worked.. we *really* need that here in the states.

    Note: The "payments from a phone" is the Osaifu-keita that daihard mentioned.
     

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