Unlocked iPhone 3G on Softbank?

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by iVoid, Feb 2, 2009.

  1. iVoid macrumors 65816

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    #1
    Okay, I'm going to be in Japan later this year for quite some time and would like to be able to use my iPhone 3G without paying an arm an a leg for AT&T's international rates. I actually think I'd be using the data more than voice calls, so I could get one of the International data plans that AT&T has, but they are still expensive (and I'd have to guess how much data I may use to pick the right plan).

    Now, if I unlock with yellowsnow (I'm still at 2.2), I should be able to use a Softbank sim, right?

    Has anyone actually tried this and verify that it will work?

    Particularly, I want to make sure data will work.
     
  2. Tokiopop macrumors 68000

    Tokiopop

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    #2
    You should be able to use any GSM Network. And I believe Softbank is GSM, so you should be A-Okay :D
     
  3. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020

    TheMacBookPro

    Joined:
    May 9, 2008
    #3
    SoftBank is 3G UTMS only. GSM does not exist in Japan. 2G= MOVA (docomo) or SoftBank 6-2, both of which are being phased out.

    In answer to the OP's question, yes, if unlocked with yellowsn0w, the iPhone will work on Softbank's network.
     
  4. mavis macrumors 68040

    mavis

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #4
    But good luck getting a SIM. SoftBank won't activate an iPhone SIM (yes, they are different than the SIM found in any other phone they sell) without selling an iPhone 3G. You cannot supply your own (unlocked) iPhone and simply activate.

    Yay SoftBank.
     
  5. Tokiopop macrumors 68000

    Tokiopop

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    #5
    Sorry, I don't live in Japan and didn't know the exact details. ;)
     
  6. iVoid thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #6
    So if I can't get a sim from softbank, are any of the other Japan carriers compatible?
     
  7. mavis macrumors 68040

    mavis

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    #7
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone 3G (white): Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5G77 Safari/525.20)

    DoCoMo, but their mail service (@docomo.ne.jp) won't work (or so I've heard) ...
     
  8. profinite macrumors member

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    May 1, 2009
    #8
    Is it really true?

    Did you try this yourself and got rejected?

    I am traveling to Tokyo on May 11th and I was hoping to pick up a SoftBank 3G SIM at the Narita Airport.
    http://www.softbank-rental.jp/en/phones/sim3g.php

    Does this mean that I would have to rent one of their own cell phones?
    Why would they rent their 3G SIM cards alone then?
    Are their 3G SIM cards for any unlocked phones other than unlocked iPhones?
     
  9. mavis macrumors 68040

    mavis

    Joined:
    Jul 30, 2007
    Location:
    Tokyo, Japan
    #9
    Check out the fine print on that page you linked to.
    I guess if all you need is voice calling, a rental SIM would be fine. Of course, Tokyo is the black hole of wifi, so don't plan on being able to rely on hotspots to check your email, etc. :(

    I don't know what to tell you. After dealing with SoftBank for seven years (I've dealt with three iterations of the company: J-Phone, then Vodafone, and now SB) I can safely say that you should throw logic out the window when dealing with them. Now, I'm not one of these people that think carriers should subsidize phones for customers every three months and/or make allowances for people just because someone happens to have been a paying customer for XX amount of time. I actually worked for a major wireless carrier for several years in the States, prior to living in Japan, so I understand a fair amount about how contracts work and why things are the way they are. But I'm not exaggerating when I say, when dealing with SoftBank, throw logic out the window! Don't plan on trying to get a SoftBank employee to think logically or see reason. First of all, they are absolutely NOT empowered to make exceptions for people, and second (perhaps most importantly) if they haven't done something a certain way before, they will not do it. PERIOD.

    Then again, maybe there is hope. It only took me three phone calls and two escalations to get them to stop asking me for my middle name when I call (in addition to my first and last name, of course, as well as my full street address, date of birth, bank name, branch, and account type and/or employer's name and number) ... So, yeah. I guess anything is possible. :rolleyes:
     
  10. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #10
    You will only get voice with the guest SIM. I believe, per the web page, that you have to let them install it and they won't do it for an iPhone is my guess.

    WiFi in Japan is very limited. It all depends on where you are.

    I would say to be on the safe side, get a guest phone for phone calls. Then only use your iPhone for WiFi connections when you find them.

    I think this is true with most things Japanese. :)

    There are exceptions but they are very rare.

    Your comments remind me of the trash disposal rules.

    A side story. About 10-15 years ago, I wanted to try my Newton with a DoCoMo data card that connected to my cell phone.

    The card was expensive (almost $200) so I wanted to test the card to see if it worked before I purchased it. Nobody would let me put it into my Newton and connect to my cell phone. According to their information sheets, it would not work with a Newton, let alone anything not DoCoMo made.

    After visiting the office a couple of times, I managed to get one of the nice ladies to let me put it in my Newton just to see what would happen. The Newton immediately recognized it as a communication card and made a nice acknowledgment sound. None of the office staff believed that it would work and were rather surprised. This generated interest, surprisingly, and they helped me get it to work. I ended up purchasing the card and happily used it for many years.
     
  11. profinite macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #11
    yellowsn0w, and will travel

    mavis & sushi,

    Thank you for your information.

    I am going to go ahead and install yellowsn0w on my jailbroken AT&T iPhone 3G now.
    Then, when I land at Narita on May 11th, I will go straight to a SoftBank counter at the airport and ask for their 3G SIM.

    Naturally, they will want to install the SIM on my iPhone on the spot to test it.
    So, I will tell them that my iPhone is unlocked. Probably, the less said, the better.

    To me, voice calls are the most important.
    Since I will have a MacBook Pro with me, I can wait until I return to my hotel to check my email. That's OK.
     
  12. sushi Moderator emeritus

    sushi

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    #12
    Hope it works out okay for you.

    Please post to let us know how it went. TIA.
     
  13. iVoid thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #13
    Well, I'll be going to Japan on the 13th. :) Maybe I see you.

    Anyway, after looking at everything, I've decided just to get one of AT&T data plans. I actually don't expect to use voice calls much, but do want to be able to get info and use data for maps and such.

    After looking at SoftBank and NTT's data rates, I discovered that even if I unlokced my 3G and could get data to work through them, their data rates are almost the same as AT&T's international data packages. So at that point it became pointless to unlock for me.

    I'll get the data packages and maybe the International voice plan to save some money for the few voice calls I do make.

    Fortunately, you can now change these plan features on the website, so I can easily adjust the plans depending on my usage.

    Two main apps that I'm going to use are "Japan Map" which is a map in English characters (Google maps is mostly in Japanese/Kanji) and "Find! Tokyo" which has offline info and maps of Tokyo that should save on data costs. I really was hoping G-maps would have their asia offline map out by now, but Japan Map sould help (even if I have to be careful about data usage with it).
     
  14. profinite macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #14
    AT&T International Plan vs. SoftBank 3G SIM

    iVoid,

    Thank you for doing the rate comparison. That's helpful information.

    My needs are the opposite of yours while in Tokyo.
    My mother is very ill in the hospital over there, and I will need to coordinate plans with relatives.
    For that purpose, the voice plan is important to me.
    For email and such, I can wait until I return to my hotel room.

    Since I was born and grew up in Tokyo, I can go where I need to go.
    But, you are right. GPS-based maps would be handy when you have to visit a place you have never been to.
    Things change all the time.

    I have now installed yellowsn0w on my jailbroken AT&T iPhone 3G.
    But, I think that it would be a good idea that I activate AT&T's international voice and/or data plan in case something goes horribly wrong with SoftBank's 3G SIM when I show up at their counter in Narita.

    I don't think that I would incur any charge from AT&T unless I use their international plans.
     
  15. iVoid thread starter macrumors 65816

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    #15
    You can activate AT&T international voice and data plans via their website now, so you can always wait until you get to Tokyo and see if you can get it to work or not.

    Also, I talked to AT&T a bit ago and they said calling 611 from Japan would work and not be charged international roaming rates, so you have that option too.
     
  16. profinite macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #16
    611 from Japan

    iVoid,

    WOW. 611 from Japan on an AT&T SIM, huh? That's wild.
    But, thanks for finding it out for me. That's useful info as well.

    And, thanks also for reminding me of the web interface to activate the AT&T international plan(s).

    On a softer side, I just downloaded LogoMe from Cydia to change the boot logo.
    Now, my jailbroken & unlocked AT&T iPhone 3G has the original Apple boot logo (or whatever I would want).
    This is to minimize suspicion from SoftBank folks at the Narita Airport. :D

    With this and with help from everybody here, I think that I have done all I can to be ready for the SoftBank 3G SIM.
     
  17. profinite macrumors member

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    May 1, 2009
    #17
  18. profinite macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #18
    Voice roaming from Japan

    I just checked at the AT&T website that, if I voice-roam in Japan, it will cost me a whopping $2.29/minute.

    I guess the SoftBank 3G SIM better work on my iPhone when I land in Narita on the 11th! :cool:
     
  19. Trebuin macrumors 6502a

    Trebuin

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    Jun 3, 2008
    Location:
    Okinawa, Japan
    #19
  20. sealab2021 macrumors member

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    Jul 15, 2007
    #20
    Hey profininte,

    I went to Japan for a 2 1/2 week visit in December. I was a little worried not knowing what to expect. This was right before yellowsn0w had been released, but after they announced that it was being beta tested, and would be released soon.

    So, I went to softbank, and I got a rental handset, which costs $3 plus $1 a minute. But while I was over there, they released Yellowsn0w and I immediately installed it on my iphone and plugged the SIM chip from my rental into my iphone 3g. Unfortunately, it didn't work, but I suspect that it could of been because it was the first version.

    So, here's my advice (assuming you are renting a cell phone or sim chip correct?) Cause if you're planning on staying there for a while and will have a gaigin registration card (showing proof that you are living in Japan and not just visiting) then you can actually buy a phone or SIM. If like me, you went there for a short temporary stay, then you will have to rent a phone or sim chip (its not like other countries, where they will just let you buy a SIM chip like in Europe).

    So, Narita Airport is amazingly calm and peaceful for an airport, so you should be able to locate the Softbank store in the airport (its not like American airports where there are hundreds of shops), and then just tell them that you have a 3g enabled phone and that you would like to rent a 3g sim. Rent the SIM, put the sim in your phone, test it right there. Make sure that you can get it to register, and then your good.

    If not, then tell them that its not working, and if worst comes to worst, just rent the cell phone, since its only $3 a day instead of $1. Its not that much more expensive.

    If you have any questions, let me know

    :)

    Oh, and two other things. With AT&T, consider dropping down to the lowest plan (to save money) while you're over there (but you will loose some of your roll over minutes if you do, just so you know). But here's the bigest advice...Call At&T and tell them you want to add the international roaming discount feature on your phone. Its an extra $4.99 a month, but it will drop your roaming rate from $2.29 a minute to ~$1.29 a minute. Which will really help, especially if you have friends and family back in America wanting to call your number (cause it won't cost them anything). And, for data, please, please buy the new data roaming prepaid packages for like $20. They will allow you to turn on your data and check your email. Because the whole time I was there, I never did find a wi-fi signal that my phone could connect to. It was always so weak that only my laptop could connect. SO, yes, Tokyo is the wi-fi black hole, with the possible exception of Haiti, but they have other excuses. But I used like 4 MB of data roaming and they charged me $40 (it was before they offered the prepaid data packages). So, definitely buy the (biggest) prepaid data plan. It will save you alot!

    Okay, have fun and good luck :)
     
  21. profinite macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #21
    SoftBank no longer rents 3G SIM for iPhones

    I arrived in Narita this afternoon (Monday, May 11, 2009) and went straight to the SoftBank counter. They told me that they have suspended renting a 3G SIM to iPhone customers. So, I was not able to rent one for my jailbroken and unlocked AT&T iPhone 3G.

    The reason for suspension is that they have had many iPhone users with rental 3G SIM's racking up hundreds of dollars of data charge. iPhone users on regular contracts are used to unlimited data. So, when these users arrived from overseas and rented SoftBank's 3G SIM, some of them assumed that the data on the rental SIM was also unlimited, which is not the case.

    Therefore, very sadly, I have rented a regular 3G flip phone.
    Later, I would certainly try to insert the SIM into my AT&T iPhone 3G. But, as the poster above has already tried, I doubt that it would work on my iPhone 3G.

    So, if you are going to Japan soon, you are not going to be able to rent a SoftBank 3G SIM for your iPhone.
     
  22. profinite macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #22
    Current state of iPhone contract in Japan

    Yesterday, I went to talk to folks at a real SoftBank retail shop in Harajuku.
    I found:
    [1] The SoftBank 3G SIM rental at the airport is done by SoftBank's subsidiaries and not by SoftBank themselves.
    [2] Currently, you cannot purchase iPhones without a contract.
    [3] The shortest term of contract available now is 2 years.
    [4] Even if you present an unlocked and jailbroken AT&T iPhone 3G, you would still have to sign the 2-year contract.
    [5] SoftBank is running a sale campaign until the end of May that essentially gives away the 8GB model. This must be an indication of new iPhone models to come out in June.

    The bottom line is that, if you are a frequent visitor to Japan, it may not be a bad idea to sign up for the 2-year contract. Sure, your credit card will be charged monthly. But, you will have a working iPhone every time you come back to Japan.
     
  23. profinite macrumors member

    Joined:
    May 1, 2009
    #23
    SoftBank 3G SIM works on my AT&T iPhone 3G

    SoftBank 3G SIM works on my AT&T iPhone 3G

    I must have misunderstood a couple of things at first.

    Yesterday, I inserted the SoftBank 3G SIM into my jailbroken and unlocked AT&T iPhone 3G.
    This SIM was taken out of the 3G phone that I rented at the Narita Airport because they no longer rent 3G SIM's for use with iPhone 3G.

    Then, I realized that only EDGE had been enabled. So, I turned on 3G. Voila!
    The SIM is now recognized:

    [​IMG]

    Now, I can make & receive cell calls on my iPhone 3G.
    Full integration with the AddressBook on my iPhone 3G is truly a god-send.
    As expected, I cannot do DATA. So, I cannot do emailing. That's something I can live with for now.
    And, I don't think I have GPS, either.
    As other posters stated earlier, Wi-Fi is virtually non-existent in Tokyo because everybody relies on 3G.

    Am I correct that, in order to have GPS, I have to have the DATA part of the SIM working?
     
  24. greekpaz22 macrumors regular

    Joined:
    Feb 25, 2008
    #24
    That is correct. You need a data connection for GPS to work, as the maps will not be able to load.

    Enjoy your trip!!
     
  25. Trebuin macrumors 6502a

    Trebuin

    Joined:
    Jun 3, 2008
    Location:
    Okinawa, Japan
    #25
    When I changed from my old softbank phone (6 mos old) to my iphone, softbank had to change the sim. They told me that the standard sim and the one for the iphone were incompatible. Now it's possible they may have fixed that.

    Both softbank sims looked exactly the same.

    Anyhow, there is no edge with softbank. I sometimes find my phone restarts wanting to reconnect to itunes and would not connect to the system, but it always ends with me remember the 3g thing and I have to go in and turn it back on.
     

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