Japan agrees to end cellphone SIM lock: report

April 2, 2010

Japan on Friday agreed to end restrictions on mobile telephone users switching operators or using an overseas network by changing the SIM memory card, a report said.

The communications ministry and the nation's four major mobile phone networks reached the agreement and will set up new guidelines for the plan, Jiji Press reported.

The accord came after the government was reviewing the SIM-lock system used by Japanese carriers to prevent people from using a handset from one operator on a rival network by replacing the SIM card.

A is a portable memory chip that fits into a mobile telephone and allows the user to access the service provider's network, as well as storing personal data.

Japan's major mobile service carriers currently sell that accept only their respective SIM cards.

This means Japanese people travelling overseas cannot fit SIM cards of local carriers in their Japanese handsets and must instead use the international services of their Japanese carriers, or buy a new phone.

Immediate confirmation of the report was not available.

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