TOKYO, Jul. 6, 2010 (Kyodo News International) -- NTT Docomo (NYSE:DCM) Inc. will remove carrier-specific locks, called SIM locks, from all of its mobile phone models, starting with handsets to be released next April, company officials said Tuesday.
NTT Docomo is the first major Japanese mobile phone operator that has shown its intention to remove the lock on such a scale.
The lock limits the use of handsets to the carrier's own network. The Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has released a guideline calling on cellphone operators to voluntarily unlock their handsets to give more freedom of choice to customers.
While NTT Docomo's move is aimed at prompting other operators to remove the locks from their handsets, attention is focusing on Softbank Mobile Corp.'s reaction as it is reportedly reluctant to unlock popular handsets such as Apple Inc.'s (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPhone, which it sells as the exclusive sales agent, analysts said.
NTT Docomo will install a function in its handsets to make them SIM lock-free.
As KDDI Corp. (OOTC:KDDIY) , another leading carrier, has adopted a technology standard for its ''au'' mobile phone service incompatible with others, its subscribers would be unable to switch to NTT Docomo or Softbank Mobile services and handsets even if the lock is removed from their handsets.