Apple bringing 3G iPhone to Japan in 2008
In an article published today, the Wall Street Journal claims that Apple is in talks to bring the iPhone to Japan via NTT DoCoMo, one of the world's largest wireless carriers. According to the usual "[p]eople familiar with the situation," El Jobso himself has paid DoCoMo president Masao Nakamura a few visits while DoCoMo executives have been taking regular trips to Cupertino. Furthermore, Apple is said to be talking to Softbank, Japan's number three mobile operator, as well, though it's likely that Apple is simply playing the operators off of one another as we've seen them do in the past. To no one's surprise, Apple's standard cut of subscriber revenue is said to be the current sticking point in the discussions. "People familiar with the situation said Apple was asking for the same percentage of revenue that it receives from other carriers. Some estimates put that at about 10%," the WSJ reports.
Sure, the fact that the iPhone is coming to Japan is big news in and of itself: Nippon is home to millions of loyal iPod fans and one of the most profitable handset markets in the world. There are wider ramifications of a deal with DoCoMo, however, as the carrier does not run a GSM/EDGE network--their low-end "FOMA" service runs on HSDPA. That means that if the iPhone launches in Japan, it will have to be a 3G model of the phone.
For more on the iPhone in Japan:
- see this Wall Street Journal article (sub. req.)