Android phone in Japan


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  1. onestar

    onestar New Member This Topic's Starter

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    Okay so after talking to many representatives from different providers and scouring the internet I came here for help. I am wanting to get an android phone in the near future, but at the end of October I will be going to Japan to study until the following summer. Most reps tell me I need a "world phone" like a blackberry or iphone that is GSM to make calls in japan. They tell me none of the android phones can do this. From looking online I have read that people can "unlock" their phones so they can use a service they set up in Japan (and use that SIM card). The one I have come across most people use is softbank. Can I use any android phone on their networks? I'd like to have access to using my 3G also, but not required. Basically i wouldn't use many minutes calling back to the states, as I would just call and tell someone to get on Skype or something and talk that way. But I assume I would be making some local calls while staying there. Please give me info on which Android phones will work in Japan and how to go about it. Thanks!
     

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  2. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

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    What is your current service provider? That would help a lot.
     
  3. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    HTC Desire/SoftBank X06HT Maybe some of the information in that thread and that overall forum can help. But it appears that Softbank would not help set up any world phones meaning your best bet is to buy an Android phone from them. According to Google, they have the Desire there!
     
  4. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    X06HT | SoftBank

    Couple of questions- what country do you live in right now? From what I read, Softbank uses the 900MHz band. If you live in the US, my recommendation would be to buy a Nexus One, and put a Softbank SIM in it (that is if you can get Softbank to activate it, which from what I read could be a difficult task) and use it on T-Mobile when you move back to the US. If you don't live in the US, your best bet would be to buy a Softbank Desire, use the Desire in Japan and since that Desire has 900MHz/2100MHz, you could use it throughout Europe and many other countries.

    Another thing is, if you live in the US and cannot get Softbank reps to activate your 900MHz 3G band Android phone (which there are ALOT out there in all price ranges), then you can buy the Softbank Desire and sell if after you are done (as it would not work in the US)
     
  5. onestar

    onestar New Member This Topic's Starter

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    I live in the united states and my provider is sprint. My contract is up so I can go wherever now. I am hoping I wont have too much trouble getting a SIM through them since I have a lot of official documents and such showing that I am an exchange student that will be living there for awhile. If I can get a softbank sim activated, is any android phone an option for me (that accepts sims of course)
     
  6. HustlinDaily

    HustlinDaily Well-Known Member

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    THat might be helpful- Japanese Cellular Phones FAQ

    Call your Softbank rep and find out if you can put the Softbank sim in a phone from a different country (the FAQ I linked above was somewhat confusing). Find out what 3G bands they use on Softbank.

    I think data/sms should work. 3G bands are a different story.

    Just know this:
    AT&T uses 850MHz/1900MHz (their phones suck but same bands are used by many Canadian carriers and Telstra in Australia. There is also a Nexus One compatible with these bands)
    T-Mobile uses 900MHz/1700MHz (and I think most of their phones have the 2100MHz 3G band. The Nexus One does)

    I am assuming you want a phone which will work in both Japan and the US. If you can find a carrier in Japan which can work with any of the above 3G bands, that is your best bet. I also read that there are CDMA networks in Japan. So if you can find one which is compatible with Verizon or Sprint 3G, then you can buy a phone outright and have it flashed onto the compatible Japanese network. Though that may be alot of work. A good idea would be to post this same thing on HowardForums Japanese section which I linked above.

    Hope that helped.
     
  7. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

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    Not unless you buy a dedicated GSM Android phone like a Nexus One or Desire. I don't know of any hybrid CDMA/GSM Android phones yet.
     
  8. onestar

    onestar New Member This Topic's Starter

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    So if I pick up a NexusOne I can use that on softbank in Japan and then bring it back to the states and sign up with a carrier like AT&T? I never imagined it would be this complicated, I assume it's my country that causes problems using phones in the rest of the world, and no the other way around lol?
     
  9. safeplayer22

    safeplayer22 Well-Known Member

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    You can get the N1 and it will work in Japan (with softbank). Right now Japan has nothing less than 3g service there so you will have no problems. As when you come back to the US, you can go with tmobile or att. but remember depending on which n1 (tmobile version or att version), when you come back, your internet service will depend on your phone (e.g. if you get the tmobile n1, you wont be able to get 3g service if you sign up with att, only 2g).
     
  10. onestar

    onestar New Member This Topic's Starter

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    Thanks for all the info. I am really starting to consider just living without a cell phone for my 10 months in Japan. I thought about getting an Android Phone and using sipdroid to make calls whenever I have wifi, but apparently free wifi is not as common as I would expect in Japan lol. Too bad :<
     
  11. Demache

    Demache Well-Known Member

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    Just buy a cheap GSM dumbphone. It won't have Android, but at least you'll have a phone. Buy a prepaid simcard for Japan and your ready to go. That's why I'm still keeping my Nokia even though I'm on Verizon. If I go overseas, I still have a phone that should work.
     
  12. heinrich3

    heinrich3 New Member

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    You can use your Nexus One phone purchased and used in the US in Japan. I know this because I am doing this.

    Here's how:
    1. Buy a Nexus one from T-Mobile and get it unlocked -- this can be done by calling customer service with your phone s/n after you have been with them for 3 months.

    2. Buy a cheap phone with a sim card in it while in Japan. The reason you need to buy another phone is because I was not able to find a store that would sell me just a sim card (prepaid or contract). Everyone wanted to see that I owned a Japanese phone before they would sell me anything, therefore, either borrow someone else's phone or just buy one. If you go with a prepaid phone from Softbank it will cost you for around $45 for the phone and $35 for the minutes.

    3. Take sim card from your new Japanese phone and put it in the Nexus One, but keep the cheap phone in case you need another sim card.

    4. Order a pizza using your Nexus One and celebrate.

    Hope this helps!
     
  13. Guamguy

    Guamguy Well-Known Member

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    Softbank now sells the Desire HD.

    Do you actually need to buy a US phone and make it work in Japan? You would need unlocked versions of such: Droid Pro, Droid 2 Global (On GSM/UMTS might work on Softbank 2100, might work on KDDI on Verizon CDMA roaming). Any phone with a 2100 frequency would work on Softbank in addition to the above mentioned. But you need them unlocked so you can use a Softbank SIM.

    Samsung Fascinate
    Samsung Vibrant
    T-Mobile G2
    MyTouch 4G
    Nexus One (both AT&T and T-Mobile versions)
    Nexus S

    Because they come unlocked off the box, I would recommend the Nexus series.

    Android phones generally sold in Asia are unlocked, especially if they are bought off a dealer and not from a carrier. Like those in Hong Kong, Philippines (non carrier), Singapore and so on. You can find HTC Desire, Desire HD, Desire Z, Legend, Aria, Samsung Galaxy S i9000 (you can upgrade to Froyo with Kies), LG Optimus P500, Dell Streak (gets Froyo on activation with OTA) and so on.

    But why buy US and Asian phones and try to work them on Softbank, when Docomo and KDDI now sells quite a number of unique and impressive Android phones. These phones have been hitting the top best selling lists in Japan recently and more Android phones to come.

    Toshiba Regza IS04 (first Android with a 12mp camera!)
    Sharp KDDI AU IS03 (first Android with a Retina like display)
    Sharp Galapagos
    Sharp Docomo Lynx 3D (first Android with 3D)

    In February, Disney Japan is even going to sell its own unique Android phone.

    There is also a Docomo version of the Samsung Galaxy S, and Softbank has its version of the HTC Desire HD.

    In contrast to US and Asian Androids, the uniquely Japanese Androids contain the Felica NFC chip for mobile payments there, which you can use for the trams and other places. They also have 1Seg mobile TV support.
     
  14. Shiningstar777

    Shiningstar777 Member

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    Hi everyone!!!

    I need some help and I would appreciate any opinion and solution for my case.
    Well, I live in Japan, and recently bought an Unlocked Galaxy S I9000. (2.2 Froyo).
    Since I am a DoCoMo client since 2006, I've decided to keep using DoCoMo services with my Galaxy.
    The fact is that, they tried to unable my Smartphone by inserting my former cellphone SIM Card into my Galaxy. My old cell phone is a 2007 D904i, so it's been 4 years with it already.
    By using this SIM card, it could only make calls, normally, but no internet connection at all (3G) APN settings seemed to be OK, as there were 2 addresses saved such as spmode.ne.jp, mopera.flat.foma.ne.jp
    Besides, the option WCDMA/GSM (auto) was also checked.

    The guy said it couldn't be possible for me to have 3G on my Galaxy just because it doesn't have the "3G" option to be selected at Network Mode.
    Docomo Galaxy S seems to have this option.

    Not believing my Galaxy would be unable to get 3G, I sent it back to the store where I bought it from to make some testing, and of course, they said it was perfectly OK and Unlocked for Softbank and Docomo users.

    I wonder what is wrong? Is the guy form DoComo the one who can't really set up my phone, is it my SIM card that is too old, or is it anything else, like any setting that is missing to be done?

    Please I need some help, cause I do wanna use my Galaxy so much ....
    Please I will be very very gald with any kind of help or opinion!

    Thanks a lot!!
     
  15. Guamguy

    Guamguy Well-Known Member

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    Docomo uses either 2100 and/or 800, and at one point in time, even 1700. The Galaxy S unlocked should work with Docomo on the 2100 frequency if that is available in the area. Also, Docomo sells its own version of the Galaxy S.

    This is the Docomo page for smartphones. If you look closely, its all Androids except for a few Blackberry. You can also find Docomo's special version of the Galaxy S among them.

    I have no knowledge of how far Docomo has gone into 800, which the international Galaxy S does not support. Note, if the iPhone could support Docomo's new networks, they would be selling that alerady but they are not.

    If the frequency is right and its available, the only other reason if you can't get a 3G or H symbol is the APN station name is incorrect. Since Japan doesn't have GSM, the international Galaxy S cannot go down to 2G or EDGE if 3G frequency is not present but you have the proper APN station name.

    Its possible that your SIM card maybe supporting only 800 but not 2100 which is what the international Galaxy S needs to get 3G in Japan. Note, international 3G phones support either 900 or 2100.

    In any case, Softbank should have 2100 and most of the international unlocked phones work there.
     
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  16. Shiningstar777

    Shiningstar777 Member

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    Hi Guamguy!!!

    Thanks a lot for your great information!
    I didn't know that International Galaxy cannot go down to 2G or EDGE! So it means that I really must have 3G or I cannot access Internet! (or throught wi-fi, right?).
    I agree with you about my SIM card, yeah, maybe it cannot support 2100 and that's why it's not connecting. It's really confusing because it receives the signal, but it cannot connect to internet.

    My friend bought the Galaxy Tab from the same store and she just got it working normally. Her 3G connection works perfectly and H and 3G switches while using it. The only difference is that she got a brand new SIM Card from DoCoMo, as we bought it with no SIM Card included in it .
    She said DoCoMo, in the beginning, didn't really know how to enable it, as it's not a "Japanese Galaxy Tab", but after insisting a lot, they took around 3 hours to find out how to make it work. And Thank God, the did it.
    My case was a little different. As I mentioned before, they tried using my old SIM card and I got no 3G at all.
    So I guesss that it's not really a 3G band problem. As you said, they have 2100.
    Maybe it's a little detail people there cannot find out to make it work.
    Well, my Galaxy S is back from the testing, and Saturday I'll go once again to DoCoMo and try to enable 3G to it.
    Please, fingers crossed, I am do sad and desperate .. ToT ... really wanna use it so much!!

    If it works, I'll let you know!!^_^v

    Thanks a lot!!!

    If anyone have any other opinion, I will be very very glad!!!
     
  17. Guamguy

    Guamguy Well-Known Member

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    You mistook me. The international Galaxy S cannot go down to EDGE or GPRS in Japan because Japan doesn't have 2G GSM. In other places it would have no problem at all. In the US, if you use an international Samsung Galaxy S, it would go to EDGE since the US lacks the 3G frequencies used by the international Galaxy S.

    Japan skipped GSM, GPRS and EDGE in its mobile infrastructure development.

    Its likely your old SIM card may have only 800 band enabled on it. You need a SIM with 2100 band. Or go use Softbank if your Docomo person is uncooperative or find another person in the same branch or go to a different branch.
     
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  18. ilovethebeach

    ilovethebeach Well-Known Member

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    You can also check Craigslist and see what they have or talk with your sponsor. If I were going I would wait til I got there to get a phone. Like GuamGuy said the phones there have the chip (you just have to wave your phone by the scanner) and you won't look out of place by pulling your money out. Enjoy Japan.
     
  19. iambeiii

    iambeiii New Member

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    my mom will send me her android au ISO3 from japan. and i dont know if I can use it here in the philippines. is there anything my mom or I needs to do?
     
  20. ninja_reject

    ninja_reject Well-Known Member

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    Why would you not want to see what phones are available in Japan??they have such cool phones. They even are getting into android. I would buy one there.
     
  21. Guamguy

    Guamguy Well-Known Member

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    No, you can't use that in the Philippines. The ISO3 is a CDMA phone. The Philippines is GSM.
     
  22. lemoniaz

    lemoniaz New Member

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    Hi guys, i just went to Hong Kong for traveling and bought an Unlocked SamSung Galaxy 2S there. But sadly when i brought it back to japan, softbank said i can not open an account with this phone because it's not "from japan".

    so i tried inserting my friend's HTC desire sim card (softbank) into my samsung galaxy 2s, and the internet data network does not work! i can only make phone calls with it, but i can't do anything with internet, not even checking email....

    guys, how do i get my phone to work in japan?.... i want to get the internet to work on it...

    P.S. I know Docomo is providing galaxy2s with their service, but all my friends use Softbank, so i wanted to have that phone with softbank. i just don't know why the data network just dont' work on the phone....

    Help plz~~~
     
  23. Guamguy

    Guamguy Well-Known Member

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    You got the connection, that means it can work. But to get 3G and internet you need to do the following:

    You have to set the APN station name.

    Go to Settings
    Go to Wireless
    Go to Mobile Networks
    Go to Access Point Names

    Hit Menu and click New APN

    Now enter the settings as per this:

    APN for Internet & MMS .apk for Softbank users in JAPAN - Android @ MoDaCo

    Now if that doesn't work, you can copy the APN setting from your friend's HTC Desire.

    Put back the SIM on his phone.

    Now follow through the settings like above.

    When you open the Access Point Names, copy what you see in it.

    Then put the SIM back on the SGS2 and follow the same steps back to the APN and copy the settings into it.

    And remember, after you put in the settings, press to return back, then press the button to activate it green.

    The clerk you met with Softbank is full of shit by the way.
     
  24. lemoniaz

    lemoniaz New Member

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    It worked!!!! but now i have to worry about my phone bills..... will this get me billed thousands of dollars?

    yesterday i went to softbank with my friend's Sharp Smartphone, and i opened a new line using her phone. So i took out the new sim card and put it in my galaxy s2 and followed your setup and it worked. But the japanese softbank guy warned me about using it like that because it "might" charge differently than the Unlimited data plan that i bought.

    So will i be expecting a large bill by the end of the month? Thanks for answering!!
     
  25. takaya.aiba

    takaya.aiba Guest

    it depends what the provider calls 'unlimited'.
    I have found here that this can vary dramatically and does not always equate to truly unlimited service.


    for reference, it is generally easier to call the telecommunications provider and request that they send you the correct apn and mms settings for your particular device.

    the settings are then sent to your device based on your phone number. this reduces any possible human error by the end user.
     

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