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DRNewcomb (Offline)
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Default Japan gets a step closer - 29-01-2008, 07:35

Every year I stop by the Vodafone (now SoftBank) kiosk and ask the same question, "Can I get a prepaid SIM?" The answer's always the same, "Not yet." This year there's a bit of a change. As of Feb 4th, SoftBank will start selling prepaid 3G service. The catch is that you have to buy the phone. They are taking orders now, but I can't find this information on their website.
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Yazcedric (Offline)
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Default Several catches for this offer... - 29-01-2008, 18:28

Hi, DRNewcomb,

I read Softbank's Japanese press-release and also obtained additional info from other Japanese customers who recently asked Softbank's customer service.

They apparently mentioned that "detail of this offer will be further clarified after 2/4", but here is what I and other Japanese who live outside Japan are concerned.

Unfortunately, Softbank will most likely ask every prepaid customer to show passport AND "additional ID" (such as Japanese certificate as a visitor=you can apply this certificate seperately from your visa if you have visitor visa to stay in Japan longer than ~90days, or Japanese driver's license issued by Japanese police=NOT an international driver's license, etc). This rule is essentially the same when the current customer purchases their prepaid phone (non-GSM). This crazy rule was developed after numerous cases of abuse made by domestic "prepaid" cellphone users who Japanese police had difficulty in locating due to lack of record of their addresses. Please see my old posts for more details.

Unless Softbank changes this rule drastically (very unlikely, because the police puts lots of pressure on cellphone carriers about this rule), or the individual agent does not follow this rule (if police finds out = big punishment for the agent), essentially, this prepaid offer is not aimed for a foreign visitor who comes to Japan for sight-seeing (or very short-term stay).

I still maintain my Japanese driver's license and was able to purchase their prepaid phone in 2006, but I also heard several complaints made by Japanese living outside Japan whose driver's licenses were expired (and could not purchase prepaid cellphone).

I hope they may change the rule for this product, though...

(I need to update my signiture, please ignore my current SIM cards).


Yazcedric

Cellphones: Nokia E70 (unlocked), Nokia 6010 (unlocked), Nokia 6030 (T-mobile USA)
Prepaid SIM: T-mobile USA, Smartone-Vodafone HK, Yackiemobile, O2 UK
Expired SIM: Orange France (prepaid)
Unknown status: MeSim (most likely expired)
Prepaid phone: Softbank Sharp 201SH
VoIP: Voxalot, voipcheap, Tpad.com, Freedigits.com, Globe7, Gizmo project, voicestick
Mobile VoIP: Truphone, Fring

Last edited by Yazcedric; 29-01-2008 at 18:30.. Reason: typo
   
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DRNewcomb (Offline)
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Default 29-01-2008, 21:48

I agree that the ID requirements are a big hurdle for most visitors.
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Effendi (Offline)
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Default 26-02-2008, 08:38

In the meanwhile, in March a 3rd WCDMA operator will start its voice services in Japan: Emobile. Unfortunately it's a W-CDMA 1700MHz, so it's the second after T-Mobile in the US to use this unusual frequency (another step farther for Japan and US from the rest of the World...). They will offer a flat rate on-net tariff, for the first time in Japan, and they have a roaming agreement with DoCoMo. So they will need dual band phones 1700/2100.


Working Prepaids: IT: Wind, Vodafone IT, UNO Mobile; SM: Prima; UK: 3, Virgin; INT: TravelSIM, Truphone.
Deceased Prepaids: CZ: Oskar, Eurotel; SK: Orange; DE: E-Plus, Aldi, Simyo; GE: Geocell; AM: Armentel; PL: Heyah, Plus; LT: Tele2; LV: Amigo; EE: Elisa; UA: Kyivstar; NZ: Vodafone; INT: UM, UM+, ICQSim.
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AndreA (Offline)
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Wink 26-02-2008, 15:26

Quote:
Originally Posted by Effendi View Post
So they will need dual band phones 1700/2100.
Well, it's not so bad :P So we will have finally a sixband* phone

* 850, 900, 1800, 1900 GSM + 1700, 2100 UMTS


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"Deceased" PrePaids: IT: Blu - AT: H3G - FR: Itineris - ES: Yoigo - GR: Cosmote, Frog - HR: Tele2 - UK: Virgin, Orange TO: UCall - NZ: Vodafone - IN: Hutch - CAN: Fido - USA: T-Mobile - INT: Travelfone, CallKey, Globalsim, HopMobile, GT, 09, Mobal, Yackiemobile

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andy (Offline)
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Default 26-02-2008, 17:07

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreA View Post
Well, it's not so bad :P So we will have finally a sixband* phone

* 850, 900, 1800, 1900 GSM + 1700, 2100 UMTS
you left out wi-fi and any future wimax band allocations
   
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VladS (Offline)
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Default 26-02-2008, 19:56

Quote:
Originally Posted by AndreA View Post
Well, it's not so bad :P So we will have finally a sixband* phone

* 850, 900, 1800, 1900 GSM + 1700, 2100 UMTS
You also left out the original North American UMTS frequencies: 850 and 1900. Even though the bands are the same, the spectrum is not.

Soon to come are eightband phones, with wifi and wimax. And if they don't stop here and keep on adding more frequencies (the US 700MHz block is up for sale) we'll end up with phones the size of my old Motorola 8000 (aka the brick). http://images.pcworld.com/opinion/gr...ynaTac8000.jpg


VladS
Mobile phones: iPhone 5, Blackberry 9900, Nexus S, Samsung S3322 duos
Mobile data cards: Huawei E587u-5, Huawei E583c, Huawei E160
Postpaid SIMs: CA: Fido, Wind; INTL: Telna
Prepaid SIMs: DE: Fonic, Lidl; AT: yesss!, bob; UK: O2; US: AT&T; RO: Orange, Vodafone; FR: b&you, Lycamobile; NL: Lycamobile; BE: Lycamobile, Jim Mobile; CL: Entel; MX: Telcel; INTL: eKit Blue, eKit Yellow
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Stu (Offline)
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Default 01-03-2008, 23:21

The new Sony PDA phone (don't remember the name, but it is targeted at the iPhone head on) comes close, but the 1700mhz UMTs version doesn't include 900mhz UMTs, and the 900mhz version doesn't have 1700mhz. On the GSM side it is quad band.

Then again we are all forgetting about the 450mhz GSM which is out there.
   
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Effendi (Offline)
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Default 02-03-2008, 17:13

UMTS 900 and GSM 450 are not working yet, AFAIK, so by now it's probably better to have the classic quad-band GSM and quad-band (850, 1700, 1900, 2100) on UMTS.


Working Prepaids: IT: Wind, Vodafone IT, UNO Mobile; SM: Prima; UK: 3, Virgin; INT: TravelSIM, Truphone.
Deceased Prepaids: CZ: Oskar, Eurotel; SK: Orange; DE: E-Plus, Aldi, Simyo; GE: Geocell; AM: Armentel; PL: Heyah, Plus; LT: Tele2; LV: Amigo; EE: Elisa; UA: Kyivstar; NZ: Vodafone; INT: UM, UM+, ICQSim.
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DRNewcomb (Offline)
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Default 02-03-2008, 23:27

Quote:
Originally Posted by Effendi View Post
UMTS 900 and GSM 450 are not working yet, AFAIK, so by now it's probably better to have the classic quad-band GSM and quad-band (850, 1700, 1900, 2100) on UMTS.
The quad GSM + UMTS-2100 phone works just about everywhere. I don't see much need for WCDMA on a bunch of different bands. Data roaming is just an inviatation for a trip to the poorhouse. High speed data roaming is the same in overdrive.
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