Run SoftBank 003z with Ordinary SoftBank SIM

I bought ZTE Libero 003z (ZTE Blade) from Japan. The phone is SIM locked with SoftBank. SoftBank have started special SIMs for the smartphones known as “smartphone SIM”. With this SIM you have to get a data plan in your package else the SIM won’t work with your phone. This was very frustrating for me. I have access to WiFi almost throughout the day so didn’t want to pay for the monthly data service. After reading a lot and browsing through the Internet I found a way to run ordinary SIM with 003z.

What we need to do is to replace the original “Phone.apk” that comes with the phone with Phone.apk. All you need for this is root access to your phone and then you can use the adb-shell to replace the file. Please be sure to backup the original “Phone.apk” file before replacing it.

Ok lets go to the fun part …

  1. Download latest version of “UniversalAndroot” on your phone.
  2. Open it and press “Root” button to get the root access to your phone.
  3. Now download and install Android-SDK on your PC.
  4. On you phone Goto Menu->Applications->Development and Turn on the USB Debugging remember to turn it off once we are finished.
  5. Connect your phone to your PC via USB cable.
  6. Open command prompt on your PC and navigate to the Android-SDK->Tools folder
  7. Just write “adp devices” to check if everything is fine. You should see the name of your device if everything is working.
  8. In order to backup the Phone.apk write “adb pull /system/app/Phone.apk PhoneBkUp.apk”
  9. Now write “adb shell” and press Enter.
  10. In adb shell give “su” command.
  11. You will see a dialog box on your phone asking for root permission. Give the permission.
  12. Now give “cd system” and then “cd app” command.
  13. Now remove the phone application by “rm Phone.apk” command.
  14. Now do “cd ..”
  15. Do “chmod 777 app” . This gives root access to app folder
  16. Do “exit”
  17. Now from windows command prompt do “adb push Phone.apk /system/app/Phone.apk”
  18. If you get no error this means that its Done … So Smile :)
  19. Don’t forget to turn off USB debugging.
  20. Open “UniversalAndroot” and Unroot your phone.

That’s all. Enjoy your phone with WhitePlan only SIM 8-) .


Here are some useful troubleshooting tips.

  1. If your computer does not detect the ZTE HS USB driver automatically you can download it from here.
  2. In case you get ReadOnly File system error during chmod or Push operation do as follows:
    1. Run "adb shell".
    2. Run "mount" command.
    3. Check the name of the partition where “/system” is mounted. The name will be “mtdblock” + a digit.
    4. Then re-mount this partition by the following command.
    5. mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock5 /system
    6. Now you can do "chmod 777 /system" or whatever you like.

Disclaimer: As mentioned here, unlocking your phone is not illegal in Japan but SoftBank doesn’t encourage it. So only unlock your phone if you know all the pros and cons. It may void the warranty. The author of this article cannot be held responsible for any consequences you may face.


1 ping

  1. GuaiWuJia says:

    I have tried some phone.apk from kallt_kaffe’s topic. But all failed.
    Now I could not input the unlock key.

    Could you tell which phone.apk can support to input and unlock my 003Z?
    Many thanks.

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Dear GuaiWuJia,
      The “Phone.apk” from kallt_kaffe`s topic worked for me. Anyways I will recommend you to try “Phone.apk” from other Android ROM dumps. Try to search “san francisco ROM dump” and take the Phone.apk from it.

      I would appreciate if you can tell us if it worked or not. If you need any help with the search please let me know.

      1. GuaiWuJia says:

        Many thanks, I will try more Phone.apk, and tell you the result as soon as I got the right one.

  2. GuaiWuJia says:

    Dear Asimmunawar, finially I unlocked my 003Z with your menthod, Phone.APK you provided works fine.

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Dear GuaiWuJia,
      Thanx for the confirmation … Enjoy your phone with other Networks …

  3. Nguyet says:

    Lovely write, great website template, carry on the good work

  4. GuaiWuJia says:

    Many thanks.
    Now I am waiting for the flash tools and custom rom for 003Z.
    I will keep visiting your blog for more information.

  5. Zhang says:

    Thanks for your sharing.
    I have problems at Step 4 for turn on the USB Debugging of my 003Z phone.

    Now my phone only have the charging function from the usb cable.
    I do not know how to make the USB debugging activited.?

    Because I have terminated my softbank service, I can not set from the Menu–Application –… even if I put another USIM card into the phone?
    I need your help to make the USB debugging activited.?

  6. asimmunawar says:

    Hmmm … that’s a problem.
    I will recommend you to get a SoftBank SIM from any of your friends in Japan. Otherwise it will be difficult to use my method.
    However, I am sure that you will find some work around if you keep on searching … I will also try to find some solution to your problem and will update you in case I find any.
    Also let me know in case you find any solution.
    Best of Luck ..

    1. Kyle says:

      I also trapped at this step, any update instead of put in a softbank sim card?

      1. asimmunawar says:

        Hello Kyle,
        I am sorry, I am not able to find any other method. You will need a SoftBank SIM to follow the above method.

        Best of Luk …

        1. Kyle says:

          Many thanks! I’ve been told there are many kinds of softbank sim card, silver, black, and blue or whatever. Which is the ordinary sim card you used to unlock?

          1. asimmunawar says:

            I use the term ordinary sim card to refer to the White plan SIM of Softbank …

  7. Nagarajan says:

    Hi Sir, I am Nagaran, Now I am in Japan , I planned to buy SoftBank 003Z in Japan, anthor few months I will be return back to India(Chennai). Can I use this phone in India with Indian mobile sim cards.

    Pls guide me, how

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Dear Nagarajan,
      Yes if you follow the procedure in this post and then goto my post “Unlock ZTE 003z for free”. You will be able to use it in India without any problem.


  8. William Benson says:


    Great article, I am in Thailand and trying to find some where to buy this phone on line
    and get it sent here , any one have an idea please

    Thanks – William

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Dear William,
      This phone is available all over the world with different names. It may be available in Thailand with some other name.


  9. William Benson says:

    Asim, Thanks , sadly its not available in Thailand in any form, in the UK , its mostly out of stock or expensive, so I was hoping to buy it directly from Japan, but ive had no luck finding an online seller .

    Regards – William

  10. hongkongdisney says:

    Hello, do you try flashing the stable CM7 version?
    I am not sure it can flash CM7 or not since 003z may have different from ordinary
    Orange San Franciso/ZTE Blade.

    Thanks for any comments…

    1. asimmunawar says:

      In terms of hardware 003z/San Francisco/ZTE Blade are exactly the same. So in my opinion you should be able to flash the CM7.

  11. hanway says:

    hi, thank you for sharing the exciting method with unlocking 003Z. I am in japan and bought the 003Z, and i tried the way you posted. but i don’t know how to deal with step 6-7. I download the Android-SDK and open the SDK manager, but i cannot input any words in the black windows.
    Could you give me some advice? thank you very much.

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Dear Hanway,
      You mean to say that you cannot write anything on the command prompt. That must be a problem with the OS that you have installed.

      1. hanway says:

        dear Asimmunawar, thank you for answering my question, I can’t clear step 6? I have installed SDK manager , and when clicking sdk manager, it appears two windows, one of window is like the Windows command prompt, but i can’t input and command.Can you mail the windows screen pic of step 6 ? Thank you very much.

        1. asimmunawar says:

          Dear Hanway,
          Actually you just need to install the SDK but you don’t need to open it. After installing the SDK … Open the Command Prompt by going to “Start->All Programs->Accessories->Command Prompt” … Then just using simple DOS commands like “cd” goto the place where you insalled your SDK … and then do “cd platform-tools” … just write “dir” to get the name of the files in this directory … you should see a file named “adb” … this is the command that u need for the next process …
          Hope that helps …

  12. hanway says:

    hi, thank you for sharing the exciting method with unlocking 003Z. I am in japan and bought the 003Z, and i tried the way you posted. but i don’t know how to deal with step 6-7. I download the Android-SDK and open the SDK manager, but i cannot input any words in the black windows…
    Could you give me some advice? thank you very much….

  13. asimmunawar says:

    Dear Hanway,
    Actually you just need to install the SDK but you don’t need to open it. After installing the SDK … Open the Command Prompt by going to “Start->All Programs->Accessories->Command Prompt” … Then just using simple DOS commands like “cd” goto the place where you insalled your SDK … and then do “cd platform-tools” … just write “dir” to get the name of the files in this directory … you should see a file named “adb” … this is the command that u need for the next process …
    Hope that helps …

  14. ecneretnecid says:

    where do i get those application bro?

    like universalAndroot

    thanks in advace

    1. asimmunawar says:

      You can download the androot from http://software2tech.com/tag/download-universal-androot/.

      1. Kunal Yande says:

        Hi Asim,
        How can I put universalandroot to my phone…….
        I cant access my phone so how?
        Please help…..

        1. asimmunawar says:

          Dear Kunal,
          Download the *.apk file. Transfer it to the microSD card of your mobile and then open it on your mobile phone. This will install the application. However, to locate file on your mobile you will need some kind of file explorer. I recommend ASTRO file explorer for the purpose.

          Hope that helps.

  15. Jimmy Chau says:

    If I buy Softbank 003Z and bring it to Vietnam, and I have 2 case: 1. It doesn’t have SoftBank sim. 2. It have SoftBank sim but doesn’t have SoftBank network. Which case I can unlock it?

    Another question: If I flash a cooked firmware, does it ask for unlock code and doesn’t need to replace Phone.apk?

    1. asimmunawar says:

      I will recommend you to change Phone.apk and then insert any SIM from Vietnam and it should ask for the unlock code.

      Else, if you change the firmware most probably you don’t need to change phone.apk.

      1. Jimmy Chau says:

        Thank you very much. Last question: how much you buy this phone in Japan?

        1. asimmunawar says:

          Dear Jimmy,
          This phone is actually available in Japan for free with two years SoftBank contract. You can buy used phones from online auctions for less than 20,000 JPY.

  16. rea1One says:

    ReadOnly File system

    i try remounting the partition by command

    “mount -o rw,remount -t yaffs2 /dev/block/mtdblock5 /system”

    but , mount: Operation not permitted

    1. asimmunawar says:

      If you get “Operation not permitted”, it means that you don’t have root access. Please follow the instructions for rooting the phone using “Universal Androot” and “su” command.

  17. tom says:

    Hello, i was wondering if you could tell me how much it cost to buy this phone at Softbank? I’m moving to Japan in August and read that you can’t buy a SIM without buying a phone so I thought I might buy one of these.

    1. asimmunawar says:

      I am sorry for a very late reply … Actually this phone is free with 2 years package …

  18. Hiroyuki Kajimoto says:

    I’m very interested in this method.
    So I have a question to you.
    Can I apply this method to other rooted devices?
    Is this method for only 003Z?

    1. asimmunawar says:

      No, I will not recommend you this method for other phones. It may not work and may cause some serious damage to your device. Each device has its own method.

  19. gopal says:

    hi friend, i am trying to unlock a zte 003z softbank japan anroid 2.2 version.
    i seem to be out of luck.
    when i give command adb devices ,one device is shown connected,
    then when i give shell command i get a $ prompt, then when i give su command i get permission denied, i have installed anroid root, and app seems to be running also showing 4 processes ok.
    what am i doing wrong

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Thats really strange … if you are doing everything as written you should be able to get root access … I am sorry, I have no idea about what is going wrong … try some other version of androot … it may help…

  20. iqra says:

    just ordered Japanese ZTE blade 003z.

    I am going to unlock it with your method.
    Just wanted to know what is phone.apk.

    Thank you!

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Hello … Phone.apk is the android phone application … android applications use the extension “.apk” … hope this will help …

  21. Jaimee Mateo says:

    hello.can you upload a video while you’re unlocking the phone?because that would really help and make it easier for us to follow the steps.well its just my suggestion. but all in all this tutorial is very helpful.thanks a lot.

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Thx for your suggestion … will try to make a video …

  22. Felicity Merriman says:

    For those of you who aren’t that arsed to search for the Phone.apk file, I made a mediafire mirror of it just in case:


    Works on my friend’s G2 003Z, with a Globe Telecom 64K USIM.

  23. Maak says:

    Thanks for this nice SIM unlock method.
    I have Japanese 003z Lebro model.
    After doing everything as you described, still the phone can be used only for smartphone SIM only :(
    When I insert a normal SoftBank SIM, it give me a message (NO SIM CARD).
    Do you have any suggestions please.

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Please refer to http://asimmunawar.com/2011/02/unlock-zte-003z-for-free/

  24. hsat says:

    Please help me! I’m stuck.
    On your instruction 17, when I do from windows command prompt “adb push Phone.apk /system/app/Phone.apk”, I get “cannot stat ‘Phone.apk’ : No such file or directory”.
    I made sure using file explorer on the phone that I have Phone.apk directly under /sdcard.
    Now I cannot switch off the phone, when I try to shutdown the phone, it only reboots. Even with my original softbank smartphone SIM, I cannot make phone calls. I can get internet access with wifi though.
    When I go on the phone Menu>Settings>Call settings , I get “The applicaton Settings (process com.android.settings) has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again” message.
    I’d appreciate any advice to get it right.

  25. Akber says:

    I have this phone softbank but i cant access any part of the phone since i do not have the original softbank sim … when i turn it on without sim it goes straight to emergency calls only ,, so i cant connect with ADB ..

    and also i have no way to root my phone as i cant install androot …

    Please guide me how to work around this to be able to unlock this phone

    Thanks a million ina dvance bro


  26. Akber says:

    I succeeded until this point but i cant get to run adb shell and su command ..please help me out


    C:\android-sdk\tools>adb shell
    - exec ‘/system/bin/sh’ failed: No such file or directory (2) -

    1. asimmunawar says:

      Hello Akber,
      Why do you want to run “‘/system/bin/sh’ ” … I dont mention this command in the tutorial.

      1. asimmunawar says:

        did you install androot on the mobile and rooted it …

  27. Akber says:

    Thank you very very much ,, i succeeded ,,

    This is what i did and it worked for me after so many problems

    i did a factory reset ,, than i downloaded the older version of the androot and rooted my phone and followed all the procedures but i also had to mount because of read only file problem and than it went smoothly

    One more thing i need to add for newbies ,, i put the phone.apk in the android-sdk tools folder and than push and all worked like a charm and i can use the softbank with my local sim


  28. Akber says:

    Thanks Asim

    Appreciatte for yout tuorial and it really helped me .. great work


    Do u have any solution for MB200 code blocked ?

    1. asimmunawar says:

      You are welcome … no sorry i dont have solution for MB200 …

  1. Unlock ZTE 003z for free » AsimMunawar.com says:

    [...] « Run SoftBank 003z with Ordinary SoftBank SIM [...]

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