SoftBank (Japanese) iPhone in U.S.?

Discussion in 'iPhone' started by willmtaylor, Nov 22, 2016.

  1. willmtaylor macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #1
    I have a buddy who lives in Japan but is coming to the U.S. for a visit. Can he use his SoftBank iPhone in the U.S.? If so, which carriers and how would he do so?

    Many thanks.
     
  2. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #2
    He'll need to ask Softbank for an unlock.

    From his perspective that will be an international unlock. They are probably likely to grant him that request versus a full unlock.

    Softbank is the pre-2015 era Sprint of Japan when it comes to unlocking.

    Sprint is most likely his best bet here in the US. Either that or Verizon. Japan is one of the few countries that is majority CDMA.

    Incidentally, you'll note that Masayoshi Son who owns Softbank also owns 80% of Sprint.
     
  3. willmtaylor thread starter macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #3
    Many thanks.
     
  4. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #4
    Nope, he's out of luck.
    I heard you have better chances of hitting the powerball than getting a SoftBank iPhone unlocked.
     
  5. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #5
    IDK. I think they'd grant an international unlock.

    Since Son bought out Sprint the management has tried to make it easy to bring gear back and forth between Softbank and Sprint. Essentially, Softbank and Sprint are keeping the customer in the family so to speak.

    I know Softbank would prefer you use an internationally unlocked Sprint phone on Softbank when in Japan.
     
  6. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #6
    Maybe they changed it recently?
    From what I been hearing before for years from my Japanese gaijin friends they didn't unlock any of their iPhones at all.
     
  7. corys00 macrumors regular

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    #7
    I'm on Sprint and for $5 a month I can add a Japan Roaming addon that treats my usage is domestic if I'm in Japan, roaming on Softbank. Have your friend check to see if Softbank offers similar..
     
  8. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #8
    I think we're both correct. Just a matter of context and situation.

    Softbank as I said has been trying to make it easier to go back and forth between Japan and the US for Sprint/Softbank customers.

    A full unlock Softbank isn't going to give you. You're correct in that. But just like Sprint would give you an international unlock pre-2015 without hassle, Softbank is likely to give it's Japanese customers an international unlock (from their perspective the US would be an international unlock) and encourage them to use Sprint in the US.

    That keeps the money in Masa's pocket.

    Softbank's LTE bands and Sprint's LTE bands are similar.

    It just comes down to the activation policy. Both Sprint and Softbank are different in that regard. The rest of the US carriers it's either a full unlock or nothing, but with Sprint and Softbank you can have either an international only or a full unlock. Giving you an international unlock is to Sprint and Softbank's advantage where it concerns Japan.

    Do I have hard evidence on this. No, but I've spent considerable time on s4gru.com and there's been talk of this on there in the past.
     
  9. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #9
    Interesting.
    So an international unlock to a SoftBank iPhone will work outside Japan on any carrier but locked in Japan to SoftBank only?
     
  10. eyoungren macrumors P6

    eyoungren

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    #10
    Right. It's the inverse of how a Sprint device would work here.

    Unlocked to use outside of the US, but locked to Sprint domestically. As an example, my old Sprint iPhone 5 which cannot be unlocked domestically IS in fact internationally unlocked. If I were to ever go outside the US I could put a foreign SIM in that phone and expect it to work.

    But a non-Sprint SIM in the US? Nope.

    Again, no hard proof that this is possible, but it's worth a shot based on the rumors I've read.
     
  11. Applejuiced macrumors Westmere

    Applejuiced

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    #11
    Yep, worth a try calling them and hope he can use it then here.
     
  12. willmtaylor thread starter macrumors G3

    willmtaylor

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    #12
    Thanks again, gents. I'll pass an abbreviated synopsis of this along to my friend. Hopefully he won't have any issues.
     
  13. sactownbwoy macrumors regular

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    #13
    Should be able to use it on Sprint. Softbank owns Sprint. I just got back from six months in Japan and I'm on Sprint. For $5 extra on my bill I was able to have unlimited talk/text/data on Softbank. Able to call both U.S. and Japanese phones without incurring international charges.
     

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