Report: Japan KDDI to sell iPhone 5 from next year

KDDI will offer the iPhone 5 in Japan in early 2012, Nikkei business daily said

KDDI, which runs Japan's second-largest mobile carrier, will offer the iPhone 5 from early 2012, ending Softbank's monopoly of the device in Japan, the country's largest business newspaper reported Thursday.

The iPhone 5 is to go on sale globally in October, but more time is required to prepare the phone for KDDI's network, the Nikkei newspaper said. KDDI had been in negotiations with Apple and reached an agreement by this summer.

A KDDI spokeswoman said the company had not made any official announcement regarding sales of the iPhone, declining to comment further.

Softbank, operator of Japan's third-largest carrier, has combined its exclusive offering of Apple's iPhone and iPad with aggressive pricing plans and a quirky but popular advertising campaign. The company bought Vodafone's struggling Japanese business in 2006 for around US$15 billion and transformed it into a strong competitor that is steadily gaining market share.

KDDI, through its "au" brand, currently offers smartphones that run Android, including one with a user interface developed in house, and Windows mobile operating system. The company is also a major shareholder in Japan's main provider of WiMax, a high-speed, long-range wireless Internet technology, and is increasingly offering phones and devices that tether into the network for data services.

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