Japan to Oblige Mobile Carriers to Unlock Used Smartphones from Sept. 2019

Politics

Tokyo, Aug. 28 (Jiji Press)--Japan's communications ministry said Tuesday that it will oblige mobile phone carriers in the nation to remove subscriber identity module, or SIM, locks from September 2019.

The ministry revised the same day its guidelines on terms for offering mobile phone services and purchases of handsets.

It aims to help smartphone users reduce their costs by increasing opportunities for them to sign contracts with low-cost service providers.

SIM locks, designed to make smartphones purchased from one carrier unable to operate on networks of others, have been used by three major domestic mobile phone carriers--NTT Docomo Inc. <9437>, KDDI Corp. <9433> and Softbank Group Corp. <9984>--as a tool to prevent customers from switching to rivals.

The ministry earlier planned to make the SIM lock removal for used smartphones mandatory from July 2019, but delayed the step by two months to give mobile carriers more time to prepare for the move.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press