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Dear visitor, if you know the answer to this question, please post it. Thank you!

Note that this thread has not been updated in a long time, and its content might not be up-to-date anymore.

Page 2 of 2: Posts 21 - 35 of 35
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. 2006/8/24 02:58
No DoCoMo/AU phones can be unlocked (except DoCoMo M1000).
by meringue4 rate this post as useful

3g phones from us that work in japan 2007/2/17 11:48
Im not sure if anyone is interested in this info but i work for cingular and we currently have 2 phones that work in japan, the HTC TyTN / 8525 and plam treo 750..and the new blackberry 8800 we're getting suppose to pick up the 2100 frequeny as well
by rastarv rate this post as useful

phones need to be 3G+tips! 2007/3/1 17:10
1) To roam in Japan using any phone bought outside Japan, you will need to roam using a 3G phone (specifically WCDMA 2100Mhz).

If it's only GSM, it won't work. If it's CDMA, it won't work. etc.

It must be 3G/UTMS/WCDMA 2100 (not all need to be there, but you must see either 3G, UTMS or WCDMA + 2100Mhz) - you'll see this noted on the specifications. Read wikipedia for the specifications for UTMS/WCDMA.

You MUST have a 3G phone!

2) If you're phone only does regular, slow GSM frequencies (single, dual, tri, quad band), it won't work if it's not 3G as well.

3) Most of the new 3G phones you search for using the Phone Finder feature at will work in Japan.

eg. All of the 3G Nokias, 3G Samsungs, etc.

Thus, Nokia 6233, 6280, N73, E61, Samsung Z510, Z400, Z540, Z560, Z720, Sony K618i, K800i, W850i, etc will all work in Japan....

I've roamed using a 6233 Nokia into Tokyo and WAP, SMS, Voice all worked fine on my T-Mobile USA plan.

4) ... BUT!!! you must have the following:
a) Your provider must have an active roaming agreement with partners in Japan. You can look this up on your providers website under International Roaming.
If it doesn't list Japan, forget about roaming!

b) You must have your plan enabled with International Roaming turned ON! eg. T-Mobile USA will not roam unless you add their free WorldClass feature to your plan before landing in Japan.
If this is not active, even if you have active roaming partners, you can't roam!

5) If you buy/rent/borrow/use any Japanese provider SIM in your phone, you must:
a) Have a Japanese SIM that is compatible with the standard 3G/GSM phone
b) The Japanese provider allows this (ie. doesn't block the SIM).
c) Your phone is fully UNLOCKED! (If it can't take any and all SIM cards, it's not unlocked.)

eg. you can now rent $1-3/day Vodafone SIM cards to use in your 3G phone when you bring it to their sales counter in Narita, etc. You save $$$$ by using a local phone number and provider plan (instead of roaming on your own plan above).

6) Roaming on your own plan (not #5 above) = very expensive charges.
You can easily get a $200-400 USD bill in a week or two of calls roaming in Japan.
Think $1.99 per minute!

#5 above greatly reduces the costs, as does SMS texting on your own plan.


That said, a cheap Nokia 6151 for $150, or Nokia 6233 for $250 are reliable, solid phones that'll roam and work w/o a problem in Japan and Europe.

Unlocked, they give you access to all of the necessary network settings to use it all over, and are good for use in Japan's noisy cities!

(trust me, you think the 6233 filling an entire huge room with music over the loudspeakers is loud? Once you land in Tokyo, you'll realize how much noisier Japan really is, and you'll thank yourself that the phone has such a loud loudspeaker and regular speaker!)

Phones with loud speakers are highly recommended -- it'll be impossible, literally, to hear quiter phones in Tokyo's city streets.


So besides looking at the Phone Finder in GSM Arena, then reading their user and full reviews, also read the full reviews at Then, pop on over to for the in-depth chat.

These three sites WILL get you what you need to know about these phones, and help you get them up and running fast (and unlocked if possible).

Unlocking? If it's generally not listed in HowardForums or (or even seen on, forget it.

Oh, and generally, most Japanese phones, even if unlocked, are poor choices -- usually:
a) no T9 or other rapid word entry system. So you must slowly enter each character.
b) no MMS/WAP unlock. So no surfing the web or sending photo messages
c) limited MP3 playback. Japan loves to limit phones to AAC playback
d) very expensive vs. models found outside Japan
e) some features don't work outside Japan.
eg. double-byte Japanase Kanji/hiragana/katakana characters are all filtered out at the provider server level in the USA for the most part from SMS/MMS messages.
(If you have a Japanese-character phone, and it has a full POP/IMAP email system, then you can probably get away with sending characters okay....)
f) button locks.
eg. some buttons for the web are programmed to go only to that provider's site in Japan. Can't change it and it won't work outside Japan.

Some EU/Asia models that are imported by providers and sold there under different model #s maybe similar.

eg. most Nokias are similar to their EU counterparts, with the exception that they include Japanese character support and some customization of the menus, WAP, etc.
But, Samsungs are typically mostly feature locked. You can get the phone unlocked to use voice/sms, but forget about WAP,MMS,etc.


That said, at the very minimum, the unlocked Nokia 6233 works fine in Japan and USA, will roam in EU, and has been tested to roam just fine by me for voice, wap, sms.
by adorable rate this post as useful

Nokia 6280 2007/3/18 18:01
I just come back from Japan. I confirm that the Nokia 6280 is working fine in Japan.

The local providers are:
- NTT DoCoMo
_ Softbank (Vodafone JP)
- AU

Before changing your cell phone, check the technical data on Nokia, Samsung ... websites. It helps a lot !

In any case, the phone should be absolutely 3G + WCDMA (2100 Hz)

GSM and CDMA phone (like sanyo S750) do not work at all .
by Franck rate this post as useful

3G Sharp 903sh 2007/6/4 07:12
With all the posts to unlock the 903sh, it seems like a 50/50 chance it will work. I hope to unlock my japanese 903 in Brisbane, Aus. Are there legit places to go?
by easy_Living rate this post as useful

new question 2007/7/28 06:18
I have a different question, sort of. I want to buy a phone in Japan, but I don't want to use it in Japan. Meaning, I just want to buy a pretty mobile over there for use in USA. Is this possible?

Which cells for sale in Japan are GSM tri-band?

I don't want to use it anywhere but USA so if I can just get a GSM tri-band, will it work? Which ones might work?
by Brigitte rate this post as useful

another question. 2007/10/24 02:26
I know it's frowned on, but just for curiosity. I've heard there's way's to take a european phone and say (vodafone) for example and make it sim free. Could you get a phone in japan and bring it home to (Ireland) for example and do the same thing, (I think it's called chipping)
would it work in europe then?
by Antimatter rate this post as useful

more tips 2007/10/25 16:11
1) besides the tips a few posts back, here's more

2) Many of the newer WIndows PDAs out can be flashed to unlock them and for use outside EU/JP.
Softbanks X01/02 series for example are based off Taiwanese made PDAs resold under different brands outside Japan. Thus, you can flash them to unlock them.

Good way to check?
a) If you want to export a Japanese phone, find the model on ebay. If the seller says it's unlocked, that model can be unlocked.
b) If you see the model but don't see it on ebay, search for flash unlocking it.
c) If you see the model, but nothing comes up, see for photos of equivalent models. eg. Softbank's was based on what(my memory is fuzzy right now), HTC's PDAs? (there are many that look nearly the same, but made by different companies - so make sure they match). Then search on the main brand's name for flashing.
d) Get ''GoGo'' magazine from Taiwan - it covers many cell phones released there, including those made by Japanese companies, such as many Sharps. If you can get it in Taiwan, there's a good chance the Japanese version can be unlocked (not always).

3) Almost all EU/Asian phones are unlocked (some countries like Britan have locked and unlocked phones), and can be bought from and vendors listed in the model listing at

Pretty much just do a PHONE FINDER search on and limit to WCDMA for the frequency, and if it has 2100Mhz WCDMA, you'll be fine.


Regardless of phone, video calling features may be limited to use only if you have and use a 3G Japanese SIM! You can rent SIMs, but make sure they have this feature enabled/allowed. Otherwise, video calling won't work in Japan even if you have a 3G phone with a foreign SIM. (let me know if any new 3G foreign SIMs allow this through provider exchange agreements in Japan)

4) Most EU/Asian phones won't support Japanese text! windows PDA phones can be an exception if fonts are installed. Otherwise, you'll need a Japanese unlocked phone for use in JP/EU on foreign SIMs.

5) Some similar models can be unlocked (eg. 804ss/z540 samsung), but you may have to flash the Japanese model with a new rom to get all of the features to work!

eg. 804ss won't do MMS or MP3 until it's flash with a z540 EU firmware on foreign SIMs.


Best bet for most people? - Phone FInder - WCDMA 2100Mhz search.

This includes:
Nokia N95, N91, N93, 6233, etc.
Samsung Z510, Z560, Z720 etc.
Sony - anything with WCDMA

Just pick one up from or local EU/Asian vendor unlocked prior to coming to Japan, and away you go! Easy and works.


OTherwise, visit the Nokia shop in Tokyo Underground Mall Yaesu side underneath Tokyo Station and pickup a JP/EU compatible Nokia phone from them (expensive, but works).
by d =) rate this post as useful

US Samsung Blackjack won't work 2007/10/30 15:57
To add to the above posts, I just came back from a trip to Japan, and my US Samsung Blackjack (which has 3G GSM but not 2100 MHz UMTS/WCDMA) did not work, although it worked fine in Europe.
by voor rate this post as useful

GSM 2007/10/30 20:27
If it was just GSM, then it COULD NOT WORK in Japan, since it doesn't have UMTS/WCDMA.

There is no such thing as 3G GSM. There is GSM with GPRS, but it will not work in Japan because they don't have GSM in Japan.
by Sandy rate this post as useful

new question 2007/11/18 18:09
would like to know if nokia 6210 can be used in japan?? it is on HSDPA, not UMTS though.....
by aries rate this post as useful

LG Shine 2007/11/30 22:40
I'm so lost, I have an LG Shine KU970 and I dont know if it's unlocked, but I've looked at sites on the net and it says it covers Tri-band GSM 900/1800/1900MHz, W-CDMA 2100MHz HSDPA and THEN it also says '3G MOBILE PHONE' up the top.
I'm leaving in two days! someone help!
by mel rate this post as useful

3G phones compatible in Japan 2007/12/2 22:22
How to validate? Current phone is LG KU970.
by evelyn rate this post as useful

GSM phone still don't work in Japan? 2008/3/23 06:07

Do GSM phone still not work in Japan? I would rather bring my GSM phone from the USA to Japan then rent one. I want my family to be able to easily reach me if needed.

I had always thought they didn't work but then I was reading this site and VERY confused now. ;) I have heard that 3G might work but I have an older Treo 650.

by Rusty rate this post as useful

. 2008/3/23 23:22
GSM phones don't work in Japan and will never work because Japan has almost migrated to 3G.
by meringue4 rate this post as useful

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