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KDDI to break up Softbank iPhone exclusivity in Japan in 2012

post #1 of 7
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Japanese carrier KDDI will break up rival Softbank's exclusive hold on Apple's iPhone in the country early next year, when it will reportedly begin selling the iPhone 5.

Local business newspaper The Nikkei said on Thursday it had learned that the company will offer Apple's next-generation iPhone through its "au" service in the first quarter of 2012.

The report noted that Apple plans to released the device worldwide in "mid-October," adding that KDDI will begin selling the device next year because "it will take time for preparations. The carrier's flat rate for iPhone data services is said to cost 4000 yen ($52), roughly comparable to Softbank's pricing.

Softbank, the third-largest cellular provider in Japan, has enjoyed boosted profitability because of its exclusive deal with Apple. But, being limited to just one carrier has curbed Apple's ability to compete with rival Android devices, which are available on first-place NTT DoCoMo and KDDI.

Shares of Softbank tumbled 10 percent on the rumor. One analyst said the increased competition could result in a wave of price cuts. "I'm bracing myself for a huge shake-up in the sector for the next six to 12 months," remarked Michito Kimura, a senior market analyst at IDC Japan.

According to a report released Wednesday, Apple will unveil the iPhone 5 at a media event on Oct. 4. AppleInsider noted last week that the company's AppleCare division is making preparations for an Oct. 10 launch of iOS 5.



The iPhone 5 is expected to include the A5 processor and an 8-megapixel camera, while additional rumors have buzzed that Apple will release a retooled iPhone 4 to target the midrange market.
post #2 of 7
Apple finally woke up. I'm certain there's a lot of behind-the-curtain deals, contracts and stuff, but Softbank Mobile certainly does sell android smart phones; it's only fair Apple too does business somewhere else.

It's a shame the iPhone won't be available on NTT DoCoMo as well. That would be the real deal, in terms of market potential.
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post #3 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by ranReloaded View Post

Apple finally woke up

It's as much the carriers as Apple.

Great news for the iPhone in Japan, however, as there's alot of resistance to switch to Softbank for au and DoCoMo users.
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post #4 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by dingtonucretia View Post

Apple finally woke up.

It's a serious feat of marketing genius to sell millions of iPhones and other iDevices "in your sleep."

Surely Apple know what they're doing - perhaps they are choosing service providers carefully, in a specific order and balancing supply and demand with manufacturing capacity.

I doubt very much that Apple has been saying "nah, we don't want to have our iPhone available to subscribers on x, y, z network - hit the snooze button again." There are two sides to a negotiation.
post #5 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by StevesLittleHelper View Post

It's a serious feat of marketing genius to sell millions of iPhones and other iDevices "in your sleep."

Surely Apple know what they're doing - perhaps they are choosing service providers carefully, in a specific order and balancing supply and demand with manufacturing capacity.

I doubt very much that Apple has been saying "nah, we don't want to have our iPhone available to subscribers on x, y, z network - hit the snooze button again." There are two sides to a negotiation.

No one's denying that the iPhone has done really well even only on Softbank.

It's just hard to believe the other carriers have been passing on the iPhone until now, specially seeing the growth it has meant for Softbank.

But again, I'm sure the behind-the-scenes is much more complicated...
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post #6 of 7
I'm pretty sure Softbank has been the only carrier in the world to continuously offer free iPhones with 2 year contracts. They've done well. I see iPhone 4 devices everywhere I go. I'm not surprised that the exclusivity will come to an end, but I am disappointed that Docomo remains so stupidly stubborn in negotiations with Apple. It will only hurt them, seriously. Docomo is known to have a very strong network and many of their subscribers want iPhones. That's why they are losing contracts. Allowing AU to also take on the iPhone will mean those who didn't want to defect to Softbank because of a poorer network will have another option. I don't know if Apple wants to play up this early news to stir negotiations with Docomo or not. But, I don't really think I'll be changing from Softbank after 4 years. Too much hassle.
post #7 of 7
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

Japanese carrier KDDI will break up rival Softbank's exclusive hold on Apple's iPhone in the country early next year, when it will reportedly begin selling the iPhone 5.

Local business newspaper The Nikkei said on Thursday it had learned that the company will offer Apple's next-generation iPhone through its "au" service in the first quarter of 2012.

Great news! But geez, 2012?? I can't wait much longer. KDDI is my carrier of choice - and hope this can happen faster.
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