By Chris Nicholls
TOKYO: Softbank Mobile, which took over Vodafone Japan’s operations in 2005, has become the first Japanese network to offer Apple’s iPhone and in the process all but confirmed the 3G version’s existence.
Following the style of all iPhone distribution deals announced worldwide thus far, Softbank Mobile’s announcement was a simple one-line statement, saying that, “Softbank Mobile Corp. today announced it has signed an agreement with Apple to bring the iPhone to Japan later this year”.
The announcement is significant as Softbank, as with all other Japanese mobile phone networks, stoped selling 2G phones several generations ago and only sells UMTS (W-CDMA) standard 3G models.
Softbank Mobile does still operate a 2G network for the few older models left in Japan, but only in the PDC standard unique to that country, rendering the current 2.5G iPhone unusable on that network without modification.