KDDI will become Apple’s second iPhone partner in Japan this fall when the stil unannounced iPhone 5 ships. The deal means Softbank’s exclusive carrier deal in the country is coming to an end, just as AT&T’s exclusive carrier deal ended in the U.S. with the introduction of the Verizon iPhone.
Nikkei Business reported (English translation) that “officials” confirmed KDDI’s deal, and said the carrier would start selling the iPhone 5 some time in November.
KDDI to join Apple’s iPhone carrier family
The deal is good news for consumers in Japan since they’ll have a second mobile carrier to choose from when buying an iPhone. For Softbank, however, it could mean lost customers if some iPhone buyers are lured away by KDDI.
For Apple, bringing a second carrier on board in Japan means it has an even wider potential customer base to sell to.
Apple is expected to unveil the successor to the iPhone 4 in early October and ship the smartphone within a few weeks of the announcement. The company hasn’t released any details yet, but rumors claim the iPhone 5 will have an A5 processor like the iPad 2, a higher resolution camera, and may combine GSM and CDMA wireless carrier support into a single phone.