Japan considers end to cellphone 'SIM lock'

Mar 29, 2010
A businessman uses his mobile phone while passing a share prices board in Tokyo on March 11. Japan is moving towards ending restrictions on mobile telephone users switching operators or using an overseas network by changing the SIM memory card.

Japan is moving towards ending restrictions on mobile telephone users switching operators or using an overseas network by changing the SIM memory card, a government official said Monday.

The government has launched a review of the "SIM lock" system used by Japanese cellphone carriers to prevent people from using a handset from one operator on a rival network by replacing the .

A SIM, or subscriber identity module, card 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 three major mobile service carriers currently sell handsets that accept only their respective SIM cards.

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

Kazuhiro Haraguchi, the communications minister, has questioned the need for the restriction and the government will hold a meeting Friday to hear from businesses and consumers on the issue.

"The minister has issued an order to review the role of SIM lock," a communications ministry official said.

Japan's top mobile carrier , however, reacted cautiously to the review, saying "careful discussions" were needed.

"We provide unique service features other than voice calls. They are possible because of unique ," a DoCoMo spokesman said, referring mainly to special Internet and networking services.

"Abolishing SIM lock could limit the types of services we provide," he said.

Explore further: Google wireless service could disrupt carriers

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

World's Highest-capacity Smart Card IC

Sep 02, 2004

Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd., a leader in advanced s emiconductor technology, completes a full line up of high performance, high-capacity smart card technology with the introduction of the world's first 256- ...

NTT to Launch 'iD' Credit Card Brand for Mobile Payments

Nov 08, 2005

NTT DoCoMo announced today its new iD™ credit card brand for card issuers, which will enable DoCoMo customers to make credit card payments with the "Osaifu-Keitai" mobile phone equipped with wallet functions. The brand ...

Recommended for you

Google wireless service could disrupt carriers

16 hours ago

Internet users from San Jose to Kansas City have been clamoring for Google to lay down its long-awaited fiber-optic network to compete with Comcast and AT&T in speeding up Web and television access. Now the Silicon Valley ...

Google super-fast US Internet service spreads

18 hours ago

Google's super-fast Internet service—up to 100 times quicker than basic broadband—is heading for four more US metropolitan areas as the technology titan ramps up pressure on cable service giants.

Transmitting wireless data on higher frequencies

Jan 27, 2015

Everything we do that requires a wireless connection uses the radio spectrum. We're able to harness radio waves to listen to music in the car or stream Netflix from the 4G network on our smartphones. Each ...

Review: Good price, limited functions with online Sling TV

Jan 26, 2015

Satellite TV provider Dish Network made a splash this month when it unveiled an online alternative with fewer channels and a lower price tag than its regular service. The Sling TV option is aimed at people who have dropped ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

dan42day
1 / 5 (1) Mar 29, 2010
"Abolishing SIM lock could limit the types of services we provide,"

Well, that would limit the profits your company could make. I'm sure you, or your competitors, will find a way to provide those services.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.