Wednesday, June 04, 2008

iPhone to be in Japan soon!

Japan's third-largest cellphone operator Softbank Mobile said Wednesday it had clinched a deal to bring Apple's iPhone to Japan.

Softbank hopes that the launch of the iPhone here will further boost its efforts to woo subscribers away from larger rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI.

Softbank said in a brief statement that it had signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone to Japan sometime later this year, though a company spokesman declined to give further details.

Handsets designed by foreign manufacturers have traditionally been unpopular among Japan's notoriously finicky consumers. But Apple enjoys a high brand profile here thanks to the popularity of its iPod digital music player.

Apple, which launched the iPhone in the United States in June last year, has signed similar deals with mobile telephone operators in dozens of countries.

The company has said previously it hoped to sell 10 million iPhone -- an Internet-enabled mobile telephone, portable digital media player and digital camera in one -- units by the end of this year.

Japan's number one mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo was reportedly in talks with Apple last year to launch the iPhone here but was reluctant to accept the US computer giant's demand for a share of subscriber revenue.

Softbank Mobile has ratcheted up the competition with its biggest rivals since buying British giant Vodafone's struggling local unit in 2006.

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