Half-assed features on Softbank iPhone

I’m getting reports from my friends with iPhones here in Japan, since I still haven’t gone crazy and taken one as a second phone. Some features have been completely borked by Softbank:

  • There’s no + for international calls. Apparently, Softbank’s network does not support the + (country code) (your number) that is industry standard on all modern phones. Instead, they customize their keitais, which are manufactured to Softbank’s specs by the nicely compliant Japanese manufacturers, to replace the plus sign with a special prefix: 010.
  • The mail address @i.softbank.jp is not “push-compatible”. This means you have to initiate a mail check to see if there is mail waiting, unlike @me.com mail which pushes the mails straight to your phone through the network without actual polling on your part.
    Softbank has implemented a sort of fake notification which must be a background process continually polling the server for new mails, showing the butt-ugly greyed-out fullscreen popup whenever you receive a message. Of course, there is no chime nor vibration hinting to a new event while the phone is in your pocket, making that mail address basically useless…

I hope Softbank gets its act together before I need to change phones. Sadly, even after knowing all these caveats, I still want one…

17 thoughts on “Half-assed features on Softbank iPhone”

  1. After a week of using the iphone :

    – No international code : this is a real pain in the ass, this is the same on my nokia and I see no other way of dealing with it that recording twice the number for each contact
    – Email address : the full screen notification is not bad. It’s an instant notification that doesn’t require a data query. I found it useful abroad when I desactivated data roaming so I could still know when I receive an email and either paid my data toll, find a wifi connection or just check my i.softbank.jp email with thunderbird set up on my laptop. I just don’t understand why it doesn’t make the iphone ring.

    Now if you really want to go on the half-asset features on the iphone I have a nice list (starting from docomo considering all the i.softbank.jp email as spam…)

  2. The lack of ” + ” is indeed absolutely infuriating, and I came to the same conclusion and “workaround”.
    Interesting take on the notification for i.softbank.jp, I’ll test this on my next trip abroad.
    Though it is very clear that the blame is on Apple, as the “push” notification is simply provided by the “IDLE” function of supporting servers. The Softbank server DOES support it, but the IMAP client on the iPhone deliberately hides the support when you configure a new account through the “Gmail” or “Other” options. It should be an interesting experiment to jailbreak the iPhone and search through the configuration files of mail accounts (which should just be a .plist)
    Clear evidence is that when you configure a MobileMe account through the “other” option, suddenly you lose the “push”.
    Very low move from Apple just to sell MobileMe subscriptions…

  3. is there anyone who has jailbroken iphone 3g from Softbank?
    Will i be able to call and send sms after jailbreaking??

  4. Yes, jailbreaking with the latest PWnage Tool works on any iPhone 3G.
    All jailbreaking will give you is the ability to access the iPhone via ssh and install non-authorised third party applications. You will still be able to call and send SMS.

    Jailbreaking, however, will not let you use another USIM card, i.e. the phone will still be locked onto Softbank’s. (that would be ‘unlocking’, and that’s not yet possible on any iPhone 3G)

  5. Sorry to revive a very old topic, but I would be interested in Kurisu telling us how he came to the conclusion that softbank server does support PUSH :

    % telnet imap.softbank.jp 143
    Connected to imap.softbank.jp.
    Escape character is ‘^]’.
    * OK
    001 capability
    001 OK CAPABILITY completed

    I see no support for the IDLE command

  6. could someone enlighten me as to why people are saying the + sign is missing? in the address book or in the dialer? isn;t it just holding down the 0 or something like that?

  7. I have an ‘unlocked’ iPhone and successfully use different simcards depending where I am in the world. In Japan I use Softbank, but now the phone only rings twice before forwarding to voicemail. Is there a way to extend the rings? I know how to do it in USA, but not in Japan.



  8. Old post I know, but the chime is now played before the lame ass “You got a mail” is displayed.

    Push wastes what little juice this phone has. The i.softbank.jp system does not use Push; however, it is similar and IMHO superior to Push. With Push the device keeps an active connection all the time with the server to check for new mail whereas the Softbank system runs more like SMS. You get a notification (“You got a mail”) and then the message is downloaded when you open your mail app.***

    *** If fetch is set to manual, you will have to hit refresh when you open your mail application. I find the best is to set your fetch to 1 hour and you will get the notification and the mail will automatically be downloaded when you open the mail app.

  9. Hey,
    is it possible to unlock/use Softbank iPhone 3GS with a non-softbank mobile phone operator? I will be staying a year in Japan and I am wondering if it is possible to bring the Softbank iphone with me when I return to my home country.

  10. Hi.
    Is it still possible to tether the iphone here in Japan?
    I have version 3.1.2 and i-Tunes v9.1

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