US IPad 3g brought to Japan as a Gift??

Discussion in 'iPad' started by cfs, Jun 4, 2010.

  1. cfs macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008

    I am going to Japan and would like to bring with me an IPad 3g as a gift. Will it work in Japan with their Softbank carrier. I have read that Japan 3g's are locked but does this mean international 3g's will not work?

    I have read many articles online and have found a mixed review. I am going to call a Softbank in Japan myself but was wondering if anyone here had any experience or knowledge of this?

  2. Dr Kevorkian94 macrumors 68020

    Jun 9, 2009
    SI, NY
    Um if u get a sim from there and activate it u should have no problem. But I think u might have a problem with content wise. Some stuff u buy from the app store here won't work there (u would have to call the company and they will get the app to work). But im not sure that since ur in japan that the store will change accordingly. Other members will fill in my blanks but like u said regardless u will have to call softbank.
  3. skubish macrumors 68030


    Feb 2, 2005
    Ann Arbor, Michigan
    It will work on Softbank. Even my US iPhone 3GS will roam on Softbank's network. The problem is getting a prepaid SIM. Japan has some strict rules about who can get a cell phone SIM, prepaid or otherwise. Basically you have to be a citizen, permanent resident, or on a working visa to get one. They won't give you one with a visitor visa.
  4. mavis macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Tokyo, Japan
    AFAIK, SoftBank is not selling any SIMs for internationally purchased iPads. Meaning, you have to buy the iPad locally to get a SIM. Brilliant, I know. :rolleyes:
  5. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    I was planning on giving it to my father in law who is a Japanese citizen.

  6. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    So what I was reading earlier was accurate. Bummer! I heard the Japanese government may intervene. Hope they do.

    Also, With so many Japanese students and travelers I can't imagine this being a good move. I wonder why Apple agreed to this?
  7. rworne macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    Well for Softbank, they don't want a flood of grey market iPads. For Apple, they want to keep Softbank happy. NTT showed a lack of enthusiasm, so who's left with a compatible network? <bitterness>Those dirty foreigners can just use the roaming rates.</bitterness>
  8. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    Ha! Your right. But wishing AU would have gotten in there.

    But it is kind of disturbing that at first Apple stated that it was not sim locked in Japan and then they said it would be. Oh well. The IPad is a good product regardless. Just hope they fix the issue so the Ipad can actually move with people if they were to relocate overseas.

  9. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    As for grey market IPads and Softbank- I think their argument was that they, as a cell company eat the cost of the cell phone to get customers. I think the gov. then stated that they are not eating any cost with IPad as consumers are purchasing it at full value, therefore the argument is not valid. We will see what happens. Thanks for your response.
  10. rworne macrumors 6502a

    Jul 23, 2002
    Actually I am quite interested in this development. Is there a link? We have a Japan trip scheduled for later this month and it would be better to buy a sim card (iPad owner is Japanese national) than to pay the $1/MB AT&T rate.
  11. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    Here are some useful links I found. It is a lot of different information but of opinions but if you read enough you can begin to see a pattern and that pattern is not in favor of the international consumer/traveler.

    Here is my understanding from what I have been reading:

    1. If one buys an IPad 3gs in the US and travels to Japan.

    - Cannot use this Ipad with Softbank services as you can only use a Japanese bought Ipad 3gs. However, the last link mentions that one can use a foreign bought IPad with Softbank but data is only available by two year contract. This part is very unclear.

    2. If one buys an IPad 3g's in Japan and want data they need to go through Softbank but must be on a two year contract. When traveling outside of Japan one can use other sim cards to get the cheaper rate. However this statement is proven wrong in the comments section in this link:

    Here are other links that I have found useful:

    It is all so very confusing.

  12. spinstorm macrumors 68000

    Sep 14, 2007
    Don't forget you can cut a normal SIM down to microsim size.

    I'm sure soft bank do mobile broadband that your relative can get and then cut the SIM down. Just make sure you take a microSIM to use as a template.
  13. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    I am a bit confused in what you mean as I am new to all of this. I am pretty sure that Softbank already uses microSim but to get connection on the 3g doesn't Softbank have to OK it for the particular device?

  14. sushi Moderator emeritus


    Jul 19, 2002
    The situation is definitely confusing. CFS thanks for the info and links.

    Here is what I gather is the situation at this point.

    1. If you purchase an iPad 3G in Japan, you can use it outside of Japan with another carriers Micro SIM card.

    2. If you purchase an iPad 3G in the US, for example, and want to use it in Japan, you have these options:

    a. Use data roaming from your US provider (AT&T for example). Of course this would be cost prohibitive.

    b. Use another provider in Japan, provided you can find one that will work with the iPad.

    c. Pray that SoftBank releases (offers) a Micro SIMM with data plan that can be used in your iPad while in Japan.​

    Am I in the ballpark with my comments and understanding? :confused:
  15. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    Hey. I am pretty sure your statements are accurate but that could change tomorrow because with each new click of research I do I find an answer and then a contradiction. It's kind of like watching the show Lost.

    For example, Softbank offers a Micro Simm with prepaid data or 2 year contract only. However, If one buys an Ipad in the US and then gives it to a relative in Japan, there is no guarantee that Softbank will hook one up with 3g. I have read a few stories on this already. However, as mentioned above I have read stories that contradict this as well.

    I guess because of the newness of the Ipad to the world, the population of permanent residents living in Japan who purchased an Ipad overseas is not large enough yet to have enough people to blog about their experiences.

  16. SKOTTIEG23 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    Hey everyone - Found this thread in a search and am hoping someone will be able to answer a question for me.

    I'm heading to Japan on the 25th for a two week tour and am hoping to use the wifi on my iPad when a signal is available. Will my iPad operate as it does in the US? Meaning, will apps like Netflix and Skype work? I dont speak a word of Japanese. So I'm thinking the Netflix app will provide me some entertainment in the evenings.
  17. mklnk macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2010
    I may be mistaken, but I think once all taxes and exchange rates are figured in, ipad is a few bucks cheaper in japan than it is here in america.

    There was a chart that showed the cost-in-dollars for ipads around the world, and Japan wound up being the cheapest.
  18. mklnk macrumors regular

    Apr 14, 2010
    "bijutsukan ni ikimas'"
    I am going to the museum.

    "okané ga arimasen"
    I have no money.

    "watashi wa nihon go hanashimasen"
    I don't speak japanese.
  19. windowpain macrumors 6502a

    Apr 19, 2008
    Yes, it should work exactly the same as in the US. The default language of your ipad won't change and everything will be in English.

    You may have trouble finding a (free and open) wi-fi access point as there are fewer than you might expect. If you are in Tokyo you will have more luck than in a smaller city.

    In the evenings..don't watch netflix!! get out and about..great country to explore!

    edit: just a may not let you access the site if you ip address is outside of the US. Skype should work fine though.
  20. EldoInTheWeeds macrumors member

    Apr 15, 2010
    In Japanese culture, if someone gives you a gift, you have to give them one. If you give this man an iPad, he will feel obligated to give you something of similar value. And when you give him the gift, if he doesn't have something for you at that time, he will feel embarrased (bad in Japan). You would be better off to give him a box of candy, some nice socks, or something representative of your hometown.
  21. spinstorm macrumors 68000

    Sep 14, 2007
    Its simple.

    Microsim is new. It's something Apple use for no apparent good reason.

    It is basically just the gold chip part of a normal size sim card.

    If you can't buy a pay as you go data microsim for iPad then buy a normal size mobile broadband sim and cut it down to microsim size.

    Yes the network may block it because it doesn't recognize the device except the network will recognize it. It doesn't actively differentiate between a normal sim and microsim. It will see it's an iPad and just work.

    And for the record it is rare a network will blacklist any device just because it
    Isn't recognized as they make money off every device on the network.
  22. SKOTTIEG23 macrumors newbie

    Jan 25, 2008
    Thank you everyone who replyed. This trip is jam packed with road trips and site seeing so I know I'll see as much of the country as possible while I'm there. I was just hoping to use Netflix for those down times in the evenings where I need a little relaxing. It'll be a bummer if it doesnt work. Guess I'll just have to load it up with movies before I leave. Hopefully Skype will work, I heard its like $3 a min to call home. And with a wife and 5 month old I'd like to talk to them whenever a wireless signal is available and not feel limited to time/money.

    Oh, to the poster who noted the Japanese gifting. I've loaded up on small gifts from the local universities and things from the area to have when needed (keychains, hats, t-shirts). I couldnt afford to gift an iPad to anyone, I could barely afford it myself!

    Thanks again everyone-
  23. nastebu macrumors 6502

    May 5, 2008
    Skype works. Netflix/Hulu/Pandora etc. don't. Skype has a deal where for $3 a month you can call unlimited to the US. Be aware, however, that the stereotype of Japan being super-high tech is more about bullet trains and super efficient subway systems. Open wireless networks are very rare, and internet cafes are a completely different thing. More porn than coffee shop. Hotels and internet cafes also tend to have a lan cable, not wi-fi, so you might find it worth bringing an airport express.

    You're better off with mugs, hand towels, and food items. In general, wearable items are bad gifts. Japanese tend to avoid wearing logo items, so the kind of t-shirts that are popular in the US are very rare here. Local university things are good, but keep it to stationary, house things and hand towels. And god knows, keep it in good taste. Americans tend to go for loud colors and big bold fonts. That tackyness does not fly in Japan.
  24. TheMacBookPro macrumors 68020


    May 9, 2008
    NTT docomo is selling data only prepaid SIM cards (3000 or 5000 yen i think) which are mini SIM cards. You can cut the SIM to microSIM size and insert it into the iPad.

    Check coverage though- in the area I stay in (Ikebukuro) my docomo SH-01A would sometimes go 圈外 while my 940SH held on to full signal.
  25. cfs thread starter macrumors 6502a

    Feb 8, 2008
    Thanks for the insight, but I have a relationship with him and know him very well. Etiquette doesn't always trump relationships in families.


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