using iPhone 3GS in Japan on Softbank

Discussion in 'Jailbreaks and iOS Hacks' started by ThomBoh, Sep 5, 2009.

  1. ThomBoh macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2009
    Hi there,

    I have a specific problem I havent been able to find the solution for online.. I cant figure out what I need to do (if its at all possible) to use my unlocked iPhone on Softbanks network in Japan

    I just moved to Japan for a 1 year internship, and I have an unlocked (with redsn0w) iPhone 3GS (32GB white) that Id really love to be able to use here...

    Yesterday my Japanese assistant from the company Ill be working for (who has pretty limited english.. though my Japanese is far worse) took me to the Softbank shop to see if we could get me a SIM card, voice and data plan. It didn:t happen.

    Essentially, it appears that the people there told my assistant that only iPhones purchased from Softbank will be able to sign onto their USIM network, or something to that effect. I told them that my iPhone is an unlocked international phone that should work on any 3G network, but they simply reiterated. They actually tried taking one of their simcards from one of their iphones and putting it in mine, and did a bunch of things on a computer (i think they tried looking up my IMEI and serial?), then gave it back, and made an X with their fingers meaning NO lol

    So, Im a little confused at why my iphone wont work with them, even though its unlocked. Whats so special about Softbank? Does it have something to do with specific Softbank firmware that gets put on their iphones? And if so can I simply find the firmware somewhere online and flash my iphoen? It looks like they are the only company to offer the iPhone in Japan so theyre my best bet for a reasonable data plan...

    On another note, my company has given me a loaner phone from NTT DoCoMo to use while I figure this out... I took out the SIM and popped it into my iPhone and presto it works... though no data etc only voice as its a company loaner phone plan... but this shows that my phone is properly unlocked and that failing getting it to work on softbank, NTT should be able to take care of me, though the data will probably be more expensive, as they dont have iphone plans etc.

    I know this is quite a specific situation, but is there anyone who knows anything about using iPhones in Japan that might be able to help me out?

  2. mavis macrumors 68040


    Jul 30, 2007
    Tokyo, Japan
    Basically it's not that the iPhone can't/doesn't work - it's that their policy requires you to purchase an iPhone locally. Period. There have been scattered reports that they're flagging foreign-bought iPhones by IMEI and removing the packet data discount (resulting in massive - $10,000+ - monthly bills) so I'd be careful about that, too.

    Welcome to Japan, where the customer is never right and the company's policies need no logical explanation. ;)
  3. ThomBoh thread starter macrumors newbie

    Sep 5, 2009
    Hahah, yeah that last bit sounds about right.

    I actually spoke to an english customer service rep at Softbank today, and what she told me is that the reason they said no is because there had been reports of foreign iphones not working properly with their unlimited packet discount for reasons that they do not know or understand, resulting in crazy bills like you mentioned. She said that me using a foreign iPhone is actually not against policy, and as long as I understand that there's a chance that my phone might not work with the unlimited packet discount--even though i've purchased it-- and if it doesnt then it's on me-- it's not a problem and they'll give me a SIM for my iPhone.

    Initially I thought that the reason for the problems might be that the foreign iphone APN and internet access settings werent set properly for softbanks network, resulting in the unlimited packet discount not being applied properly. But if it's because they're actually flagging down foreign IMEIs and removing the unlimited packet discount, that is INSANE and I'll have no part in that. How credible are these reports?? I mean considering she told me that it's not against policy, and it seems like its just firmware issues causing the unlimited packet discoutn problem, it would seem like she was not being entirely truthful to me if those reports are true, and regardless of what I do to my phone i'm probably screwed.

    I mean if I can't guarantee myself that I wont get a trillion dollar data bill with softbank, then I'm just gonna have to get a Japanese phone and call it a day, but arrrrgh.

    Thanks for the reply.
  4. Nermal Moderator


    Staff Member

    Dec 7, 2002
    New Zealand
    They may be doing the opposite; adding local IMEIs to a whitelist for discounted data. One of the telcos here in NZ does something similar; local ESNs (CDMA version of IMEI) are whitelisted.

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