Japanese carriers to end mobile phone locks?

Japan’s regulators decided to end restrictions on mobile phone users switching operators or changing the SIM card in their phones. The communications ministry and the country’s four major carriers reached the agreement and will set up new guidelines for the plan, Jiji Press reported.

At the moment, Japan’s major mobile networks sell handsets that accept only their respective SIM cards only, and cannot work with handsets bought from other carriers. In other words, they sell network-locked devices. To be fair, they subsidize them heavily, hence Japanese customers have some super high-end phones available for a friction of their retail price.

Offering locked phones only is not a nice thing, especially for those Japanese travelling abroad. They can’t simply switch SIM cards, but need to grab another phone to use with a local network and save money on way too expensive roaming costs.

To be perfectly clear – this news isn’t 100% confirmed. We’re hoping that we have the official information within days. Stay tuned in the meantime…

[Via: Yahoo]

  • Phineas J. Whoopie

    Wow.. no more trying to jam an “unlock sim” thing into the phone under the sim card.. But I went through the trouble of getting a sharp/softbank used phone for a trip to Japan, got a 3kY prepaid sim for it, and had to give up and swap the sim into an old Vodaphone V980 (worked great!). Even with the menus in english, the sharp’s key + menu layout was ODD… I know that JP cell phones are luxury grey market items in AU and HK, etc.. but this is fashion, not function. I guess mr travelling sararyman would like an unlocked phone though: If he is used to the JP/softbank menus, he is going to hate using a “western” unlocked nokia or moto as a second phone.

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