updated 12:50 pm EDT, Tue July 6, 2010
NTT may reverse years of insisting on locks
NTT DoCoMo had the potential to shake up the Japanese cellphone industry today with a claim by the Nikkei Business Daily that the carrier will finally start allowing unlocked devices on its network. Company head Ryuji Yamada is claimed to have opened the possibility of both allowing unlocked phones on the network and offering software to unlock phones so customers can switch. Terms, such as whether it would be available immediately or only after time has elapsed in a contract, weren't mentioned.
The changeover could take place as soon as April.
A switch would help end the customer lock-in that has been common in the Japanese market, where it's difficult to switch carriers without entirely replacing phones no matter which network they might consider. Japanese iPhones still come locked to SoftBank, but the move would allow unlocked models to be sold in the country and could allow iPad owners to convert over by using a data-only micro SIM. [via MarketWatch]