4 Replies Latest reply: Mar 11, 2009 8:47 AM by neuroanatomist
Gokiburi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
Sorry I am completely helpless when it comes to technology, especially mobile phones, but I really have my sights on the iPhone. It's getting cheaper over here, and there are all sorts of promotions over here, so I'm itching to buy one. I'm a long term resident, but may be moving back with my family in 2010 or 2011.
My iphone will be one that is made for Japan, the software and all the other stuff. Of course language is not my concern, I am just wondering if, when I move to America, I will be able to change whatever needs to changed for it to work as an American mobile phone.
What would you have to do? If they cannot be exported I'm just gonna have to suck it up and wait till I move back to the states.

sony vaio, Windows Vista
  • Ansuz82 Level 6 Level 6 (8,265 points)
    It depends. If the iPhone is sold by the carriers as an unlocked GSM phone then yes, you will be able to use it when you return to America. However, if the phone is still carrier locked then the answer is no.
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,690 points)
    According to this linked kbase article, iPhone 3Gs sold in Japan are carrier-locked to SoftBank. Carrier-locked phones cannot be used with a SIM card from another network, so the answer is, "No." If you buy an iPhone in Japan, you'd need to sell it there and buy another one here to use it on the US network (unless you keep the SoftBank account and pay the exorbitant international data roaming charges).
  • Gokiburi Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)
    Ahh, that's what I was afraid of... I'll have to sell the phone back before the 2 year contract is over and pay $800 for the iphone. So this is the result of a Softbank policy, not Apple?
  • neuroanatomist Level 7 Level 7 (31,690 points)
    Gokiburi wrote:
    So this is the result of a Softbank policy, not Apple?

    A result of the negotiations between SoftBank and Apple, subject to Japanese law. Unlocked iPhones are sold in select countries or locked iPhones can be unlocked by the carriers in those countries, as indicated in the kbase article I linked above (e.g. Italy, Belgium, Hong Kong). In that case, those phones could be used with an AT&T or T-Mobile SIM card in the USA, for example.

    But, there's another wrinkle as well - unlike other Apple products, the iPhone warranty is not worldwide. iPhone service can only be obtained in the country where the iPhone was purchased.