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Thread: Will an unlocked iPhone 3G from o'seas work in Japan with a Japanese SIM?

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I'm in Tokyo, and I travel to Hong Kong from time to Time. (And have friends in HK who travel to Japan often) I noticed that apple sell fully SIM
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    Default Will an unlocked iPhone 3G from o'seas work in Japan with a Japanese SIM?
    I'm in Tokyo, and I travel to Hong Kong from time to Time. (And have friends in HK who travel to Japan often) I noticed that apple sell fully SIM unlocked iPhones in Hong Kong, in order to comply with laws against locking a customer to a provider.

    Has anyone ever brought an unlocked iPhone to Japan and put in a Softbank SIM card (prepaid or otherwise) and continued as normal?

    Although cheaper to get a Softbank version here.. I'm worried that I can't unlock it to use local prepaid SIM's when travelling instead of roaming - softbank seem to change the phones a little. And also worried that if I return to Australia to live in the near future, I won't be able to use it.

    Does the first "activation" of an unlocked phone such as this then lock you into that provider?



    Automerged Doublepost:

    I gave up on English language forums, and did some googling in Japanese. I found this article in Japanese I went to Hong Kong to buy a SIM Free iPhone!

    machine translation here from Nifty

    Apparently it was activated using a Softbank SIM card. And it accepts standard SIM cards, (unlike the Japanese version which only accepts special iPhone only "Black SIM" cards, meaning even if you unlocked your Japanese iPhone, you still might not be able to use it overseas.)

    After initial activation he used the phone with Softbank AND NTT Sim cards, as well as testing roaming with some HK SIM Cards. Results in the article.

    So very tempted to get a friend in HK to buy one and send to me.
    Last edited by scottdk; 02-03-2009 at 10:31 PM. Reason: Automerged Doublepost

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    Green Apple vinko's Avatar
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    As far as I know all iPhone 3G sold in HK are full carrier unlocked iPhones, so it should accept any GSM SIM. Just to make sure, the iPhone is activated properly I would activate it in HK using any SIM card from a HK carrier. Since Apple's EULA requires you to use the iPhone in HK, in case they [Apple] have a hidden method to check your activation location and SIM card.

    On the other hand, are you sure that iPhone 3G from Softbank unlocked with Yellowsn0w (iPhone Dev Team) will not accept SIM cards from foriegn carriers? As far as I know the unlock using Yellowsn0w is total and will result in an iPhone similar to those sold in HK, Taiwan and Belgium

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    I am in Japan also, I am using softbank bought iphone unlocked with yellows0w. I have succesfully used a japan docomo sim, and a tmobile sim while in florida for the holidays. I also tried an AU sim but i could not get that to connect. don't know why? hope this helps you out,,,,

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    Any iPhone 3G will work in Japan but not the iPhone 2G model. This is because of the frequency 2100 MHz chosen by the only two carriers who decided not to follow the standard frequencies used by other international countries. Anyway, at least they support 2100 MHz so you'll be able to make use of voice, data and SMS. For those using an unlocked iPhone 3G it's cheaper to get a prepaid 3G SIM card from Softbank or Docomo. The latter of which appears to have more expanded coverage across Japan. If you decide to use your country SIM card then ensure your network carrier has enabled international roaming otherwise you'll find that your iPhone 3G won't connect to the other carrier network. For those interested here is some useful information on international roaming for Rogers customers http://www.rogers.com/web/content/wi...tional_roaming and the two carriers in Japan http://www.nttdocomo.co.jp/english/ and http://mb.softbank.jp/mb/en/
    Last edited by imagine engine; 02-04-2009 at 09:56 PM.


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    Quote Originally Posted by imagine engine View Post
    Any iPhone 3G will work in Japan but not the iPhone 2G model. This is because of the frequencies chosen by the only two carriers who decided not to follow the standard frequencies used by other international countries. Anyway, at least they support 2100 MHz which is used for the 3G network in Japan so you'll be able to make use of voice, data and SMS...
    I believe the reason the 1st generation iPhone (aka iPhone 2G) will not work in Japan is because the carriers in Japan had migrated their networks to the, comparatively, more advance 3G network from CDMA, which majority of the world's GSM networks had been or in the process of doing the same for the past 4 years.

    I believe your comments, "... decided not to follow the standard frequencies used by other international countries." is not correct. The 3G network is a more advanced mobile carrier network compared to what majority of the GSM networks are on. As you may already know, "3G" stands for "3rd generation". The most common GSM networks in used at the moment are 2G and 2.5G (aka, EDGE), where 3G is much more prevalent in many of the countries in Asia and parts of Europe.

    In the case of Japan and South Korea, they are already in the process of planning the deployment of 4G networks. Here in Hong Kong, it was only last week that the government had finished the auction of 4G licenses.

    As for whether you can have access to Data using the non-Softbank SIM card will depend on whether you have the correct APN entered, and of course an accompany Data plan is assumed.

    Just some additional information for the readers. I hope it was helpful.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etriess View Post
    I am in Japan also, I am using softbank bought iphone unlocked with yellows0w. I have succesfully used a japan docomo sim, and a tmobile sim while in florida for the holidays. I also tried an AU sim but i could not get that to connect. don't know why? hope this helps you out,,,,
    Thanks! That's really good to know. Nice to see you could use yours with Docomo and overseas too. Does that mean you shouldn't do firmware updates until the yellowsn0w developers have caught up? This is the "cheaper" option for me, seeing as I'm already on a Softbank plan.

    But somehow the thought of a hassle free fully unlocked phone from HK that I don't have to fiddle with is more appealing. I'm a simple user, and just want the normal functions, and the ability to slip in a local prepaid SIM wherever I travel to without worrying about hacks and firmware versions.

    Yes, I read somewhere how AU are on a different network, not the normal 3G, and so that's why their SIM wouldn't work in the iPhone. not sure of details why, but didn't need to know. Bottom line, no AU in normal 3G phones, I believe.
    Last edited by scottdk; 02-04-2009 at 10:46 PM.

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    yes cannot update until yellowsn0w gets a grip on it, thats the only draw back, but those guys at dev team are quick so it doesn't bother me. I travel to quite a bit in asia so being able to use other sims is helpful an cheaper.

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    I can confirm an unlocked 2G iPhone works in Thailand (voice+data), Cambodia(voice only) and Vietnam (voice and s..l..o..w data) using local carrier sims. Next test? The 3G+yellowsn0w

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    My 3G worked in Vietnam when I was on a business trip, although I used and sim adapter. Worked without noticeable problems.

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    Quote Originally Posted by etriess View Post
    I am in Japan also, I am using softbank bought iphone unlocked with yellows0w. I have succesfully used a japan docomo sim, and a tmobile sim while in florida for the holidays. I also tried an AU sim but i could not get that to connect. don't know why? hope this helps you out,,,,
    I just arrived to tokyo, and my Iphone 3G (US version, unlocked with Yellowsn0w) doesn't pick up any carrier. I took my sim card out, and plug it in my Nokia, and I got Jp DoCoMo. I wonder why this happen, could you share your trick to make it work with DoCoMo?

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    "For what it's worth, NTT DoCoMo does not run a GSM / EDGE network. Any iPhone released on DoCoMo's FOMA service will be UMTS / HSDPA -- right, the 3G iPhone."
    iPhone coming to Japan's NTT DoCoMo? - Engadget

    Also .... some interesting reading. Not Big in Japan
    Not Big In Japan: The iPhone (AAPL)

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    Hi everyone !

    Well I have been reading those posts with a rising interest since I am in Japan with a iPhone I bought in France and though willing to contact with Softbank, I am unable to do so because they refuse to contract with iPhones they did not sell.
    As I had a previous contract with Docomo, I inserted the sim card in my iPhone but bot reation : not carrer is founded.

    How can I get my iPhone to work in Japan ?
    It should be fully sim unlocked but It detecks nothing for the time being.

    Ponnial

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    How is your iPhone 3G unlocked? Was it done by the carrier in France? Did you activate the iPhone in France before you left France?

    If it was not unlocked with the above method? How did you unlock your iPhone?

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    Default Foreign bought iPhone and Japan
    Thank you Vinko for your answer.
    It was unlocked by a friend and activated. I used it with Orange as well as with Bouygues who is not supposed to be accessed.
    My friend told me the process was simple : one had to enter a long serie of figures... But I was not there at the time he did it.
    Does it help ???

    Ponnial

    I have no knowledge in the "above method" but I understand you must refer to the "yellows0w" which I don't know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ponnialevi View Post
    Thank you Vinko for your answer.
    It was unlocked by a friend and activated. I used it with Orange as well as with Bouygues who is not supposed to be accessed.
    My friend told me the process was simple : one had to enter a long serie of figures...
    It sounds like your iPhone 3G was carrier unlocked by Orange, this sort of carrier unlock is normally for unlocking the iPhone within the country it was purchased. This is very similar to the carrier unlock conducted on iPhones by the Apple carrier partners in Australia, Taiwan and Belgium, but very unlike the "factory unlock" done by Apple for iPhone 3G sold in Hong Kong.

    Can you go into the Settings --> General --> About, and check the version of the Modem Firmware? If it is NOT 02.30.03 then you can use iPhone Dev Team's application Pwnage Tool to unlock your iPhone permanently. Unfortunately if the Modem Firmware is indeed 02.30.03, then you will have to wait for the official release of the version of their tool to unlock iPhones with that version of the modem firmware.

    If the Modem Firmware of your iPhone 3G allows you to unlock it permanently using the Pwnage Tool then you can follow the very clear instructions at HackTheiPhone to do so.

    PS: note that there are several tools out there who claims to be able to unlock iPhone 3G with 02.30.03 Modem Firmware, but none of them are officially from the iPhone Dev Team. So using it will be very risky.

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    I am very gratefull to you Vinco. My version being 02.28.00 I can follow your recommandation and actually I did begin reading at HackTheiPhone and I will carry on.
    My first impression is that the friend who unlocked my iPhone used those informations. I believe so because of the programs Siphon, Cycorder are already installed.
    Is there a way to know more about the level of unlocking already done on my iPhone ?
    Thank you for your time.
    Ponnial

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    BTW my name is "Vinko".

    As for the programs "Siphon" and "Cycorder" being on your iPhone 3G only means that your iPhone was jailbroken. Having this and any "unauthorized" 3rd party application on your iPhone is the ability that comes with any iPhone that had been jailbroken.

    In no way does it indicate how the iPhone was unlocked or jailbroken.

    I can only speculate the way in which your iPhone 3G was unlocked by your description that your friend entered a series of codes. This also sounds strange, as the normal "carrier conducted" unlocking does not require entering of any codes on the iPhone. Are you sure you did not have a piggy back SIM (TurboSIM or alike) on the original SIM card from France that your friend was using?

    When you inserted the SIM card from the Japanese carrier, does the iPhone at least recognize that there is a SIM card in the phone?

    In either case, if you want to permanently unlock your iPhone 3G, you should follow the instructions at the site I've recommended and perform the Unlocking yourself. Note that you must follow the instructions step by step. Do not rush yourself and you may want to read the entire instructions before you begin.

    No matter what you do, you DO NOT want to restore or upgrade your iPhone using iTunes and replacing the Modem Firmware with 02.30.03.

    Best of luck.

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    Sorry for mispelling your name Vinko
    Actually, I appear to be under a severe mixt of fever, headache and coffing that is just making me brainwashed.
    Still, I did understand your explanations and will, as soon as I recover enough, try to follow the nicely explained step by step procedure.
    I hope my next message, in a couple of days, will be a Hourra.
    By the way, my phone does recognize that there is a Sim card but just doen't know what to do with it.
    Thanks again to you for your kind explanations

    Ponnial

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    Quote Originally Posted by ponnialevi View Post
    ... By the way, my phone does recognize that there is a Sim card but just doen't know what to do with it...
    If it does not recognize your SIM then it is no longer unlocked, but still activated when it was done in France.

    So the unlocking instructions should resolve your issues.

    BTW: are you on a Mac? The instructions I gave you were for Mac users.

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    Yes, I am on Mac 10.5.5 and soon 10.5.6
    I will tell you how it is going once I'll have found my shoulders to put my head on it.
    For now, I will just let it be.
    Thanks again.
    Ponnial

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