Japan’s SoftBank has issued the latest in the long line of terse announcements from international mobile carriers that it will offer the Apple iPhone later this year. The announcement follows wrangling last year between SoftBank and DoCoMo, which are respectively Japan’s number three and number one mobile operators: at the time, both companies were reported to be wary of revenue-sharing arrangements Apple wanted to let them have an exclusive deal on the iPhone. Although financial terms and exclusivity arrangements were not revealed in Softbank’s announcement, recent iPhone deals with international carriers have not necessarily been exclusive.
One interesting aspect to Softbank’s announcement: there can be no doubt the deal refers to a 3G iPhone, since Softbank is not a GSM/EDGE operator: for an iPhone to work on Softbank’s network, it’s going to have to use WCMDA (UMTS 3G) technology.
Softbank only says it will offer the iPhone “later this year,” with no additional information on pricing or availability.
Apple is widely expected to introduce a 3G iPhone next week at its Worldwide Developer Conference (WWDC).
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