Disable LTE to Configure B-Mobile Visitor SIM for Galaxy S3

After ordering a pair of B-Mobile Visitor SIMs and hoping that I managed to get the Japanese address for our hotel correct, I was very happy when the front desk staff handed me two B-Mobile envelopes upon arrival. Now I only had to worry about actually getting the SIM cards to work in our phones. I was carrying an unlocked Samsung Galaxy S3 and my father-in-law had both an unlocked iPhone5 and an iPhone 4s.

B-Mobile Visitor SIM Card The B-Mobile Visitor SIM cards are data only and do not include any voice service. Data but no voice means that the SIM cards don’t really work the way that your phone is expects them to. I’ve read that some phones will show zero signal strength yet still have fast data connections. Despite arriving at our hotel just before midnight local time, I was keen to see if I could get data working so I popped out my Hong Kong One2Free SIM and dropped in the B-Mobile Docomo card.

After initially getting a no signal warning from my phone, I ended up seeing bars, which was a good thing. Next up I had to manually enter the APN information as specified on the instructions that came with the card.

B-Mobile Visitor SIM Instructions

I followed the Android set-up instructions, although on the Galaxy S3 instead of “Wireless and Networks” you click “More settings”: Settings -> More Settings ->  Mobile Networks -> Access Point Names -> Menu Button -> New APN

Android Wireless and Network Settings Screens

Click “More settings” then “Mobile networks”

Android Mobile Networks and APN Screens

Click “Access Point Names” and if the b-mobile APN isn’t there you can click the hidden “menu” button next to your physical home button and then click “+ New APN”

Android Edit Access Point Screens

When adding or editing an APN you get two screens worth of settings but you only have to modify the following ones:

  • Name: b-mobile
  • APN: bmobile.ne.jp
  • Username: bmobile@fr
  • Password: bmobile
  • Authentication type: PAP or CHAP (if available)

After entering all of that information I went back to my home screen and launched my browser but no data flowed. Sometimes when switching SIM cards it helps to give your phone a fresh restart so I tried that a couple of times and still no luck. I started to sweat.

Using the hotel Wifi I went online to troubleshoot the problem and had very little luck. Some people seemed to have no problems and I found one message board thread (which I can’t seem to find anymore) where one person was having the exact same problem that I was having.

In desperation I started looking at other settings and systematically would make a change, restart my phone, check for connectivity, sigh, make a new change, and repeat. After about 30 minutes I was getting close to giving up but suddenly one of my changes finally worked!

Android Network Mode Screen On the “Mobile networks” screen there is an option called “Network Mode”. When I selected the GSM/HSPA options with no LTE the 4G symbol on my phone lit up! After a bit of a panic attack I finally had sweet sweet fast and reliable mobile data in Japan.

And if you’re curious, setting up the SIM on the two IOS devices was a bit less stressful as they both found 4G connectivity as soon as the APN information was entered.

7 thoughts on “Disable LTE to Configure B-Mobile Visitor SIM for Galaxy S3

  1. Great to hear that worked out ok. I’m going to Japan in a couple of weeks and was looking at getting a b-mobile SIM for a Galaxy S3 and another one for an Iphone 4s.

    Quick question, how was battery life on the galaxy?
    I`ve read a lot of reports of excessive battery drain because the phone is not able to detect the service provider and just keeps boosting signal power.

    • Have a great time in Japan! I’d read about the battery drain issue before my trip but I didn’t notice any problems on my Canadian Galaxy S3. Other than using an unlock code on it my phone is otherwise pretty much stock.

  2. Hello, I’ll be travelling to Japan in a week’s time and I’m thinking of purchasing the bmobile sim card, just wondering how is the speed for data? I have read some reviews which have negative comments on the speed so I’m worrying a little. Also, your Galaxy 3 is not a Japanese model right?? And the sim card works fine?
    Thanks!

    • I was using an unlocked North American Galaxy S3 (Rogers Wireless) and the SIM card worked once LTE was disabled. We never left Tokyo so I can only vouch for the fact that speed was fine in the city. It was no different than 4g speeds I’ve used in Canada, the US, and Hong Kong. Please let us know how your experience is if you go for it and I hope you have a great trip!

  3. Thanks a lot! I was afraid to order it for my next holidays because I have an s3 and they couldnt tell me it would work!
    You saved my holidays! 😀

  4. Thank you for posting this up! Am using a Samsung S3 LTE bought from Singapore and was wondering if B-mobile would work on it. If it worked on your american/canadian phones, it should work on mine too i hope. Fingers crossed!

  5. Thank you so much! I am visiting Japan from Toronto now and I had the same problem! Luckily I had internet access from the hotel and found your article. Now I am replying on the street in Ginza!

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