When buying a phone we usually lookup for global variants so we can take the phone wherever we want and use any carriers we need to. But if you’ve got a carrier-locked phone you will definitely want to get it unlocked for the various advantages you get from an unlocked phone.
However in Japan, the three mammoth carrier companies i.e. Docomo, Softbank, and AU go extra lengths to make your phone not unlockable even though it’s not illegal in Japan to unlock your phone.
Some have it so that your contract gets violated if you unlock the phone whereas some force you to get a whole new phone with a new plan i.e getting the phone in Japan is not an easy task. However, it looks like there’s good news on the horizon as the Japanese Government has decided to ban companies from locking customer’s cell phone SIM cards.
On August 10th, The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communication came up with a new policy that is supposed to be in effect from October 2021 that bans these mega Communication companies from locking user’s smartphones and SIM cards. This will definitely be in favor of customers as they gain massive freedom from their carrier plans. Right now if you want to unlock your phone there are plenty of conditions that should be met i.e your phone should have completed your phone’s payments and your contract with the network carrier must also be fulfilled.
Also if you’re planning to get a smartphone before the policy comes into effect, your contract will only last until October of 2023 and after that, if you request your smartphone companies to dissolve the contract they are compelled to do so legally.
Disagreements from the companies have been presented to the government but it doesn’t look like they’ll be able to do anything to alter the policy. Hence they are no longer in a position to lock their customers into their contract plans as the customers will be able to change their carriers without the hassle of getting a whole new contract on the phone too!