Wireless Japan Tradeshow Interview – SoftBank Exec. States iPhone will Stay Sim-Locked. Ahh.. Huh..!?! http://bit.ly/cGmgQo
In what is sure to ‘confuse’ many observers, even the locals like us, these comments do not reflect the simple fact that this effort to mandate sim-free devices is coming from the Ministry – Not DoCoMo. As we understand the current status, this sim-free approach set to take effect next year was not mandated by law, however, the general process from past lessons is that after a “kind note” from MIC if the industry does not follow suit then it will proceed to legislate. While this evolution might not please SBM related to the iPhone, DoCoMo clearly has more subs to lose to the energetic 3rd player, and we doubt very much Big D wanted number portability back in the day either. As with most things here, much remains to be seen, that being said; once the bureaucratic wheels are in motion even a simple ‘exclusive’ contract with Apple will not stand in it’s way.. Eds.
Softbank Mobile Corp. understands but it isn’t budging on unlocking the Apple Inc. iPhones it sells exclusively in Japan so they can be used on other mobile networks. It may in the future, however, allow the removal of the subscriber identity module (SIM) lock for several of the other Softbank cellphone models.
“We are not considering removing the (iPhone) lock at this time,” Tetsuzo Matsumoto, the firm’s senior executive vice president, told reporters after a keynote speech at Wireless Japan, a mobile communication technology fair that opened Wednesday at the Tokyo Big Sight convention center.
He added, however, that his company is looking at removing the locks for other Softbank cellphone models so they can be used with the networks of other companies. “We know that some of our customers want to use Softbank’s mobile phones overseas,” he said.
According to Matsumoto, the iPhone was not selling well when it first arrived in the Japanese market. But it gained popularity after Softbank Mobile reduced its prices drastically, to levels that brought the company slim profit, he said.
Removing the SIM lock, he said, would destroy the business model that allows the iPhone to be sold at low prices. “Therefore, the lock removal will not be beneficial for consumers,” Matsumoto said. Rival carrier NTT DoCoMo Inc. has said that it plans to install SIM lock removal functions on all of its models from April next year.
Matsumoto said: “We cannot help thinking that (DoCoMo’s) plan is targeted at the iPhone. We will never yield to such pressure.” Via: Asahi Shinbum