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Sep 23, 2011

iPhone 5 Coming to New Carrier in Japan, Report Says

KDDI Corporation, a Japanese telecommunications operator, has reportedly secured its rights to carry the next-generation iPhone 5, effectively stealing away Softbank’s exclusive grip on Apple’s elusive handset in the country.

The news comes via a Nikkei publication quoted by Marketwatch, according to whom KDDI Corp. has entered an agreement with Apple Inc. to sell the fifth-generation iPhone in the country.

Citing sources close to the matter, Nikkei Business noted that KDDI’s move impacted Softbank’s stock, which is only natural since there will now be two iPhone carriers in Japan, instead of just one.

Should KDDI eventually sell the iPhone 5, analysts say Softbank will post far less profits.

The Tokyo Stock Exchange lists KDDI's shares higher in today’s trading, whereas Softbank shares are falling.

Softbank's shares dropped 7.3% to Y2,413 with KDDI's going up by 2.1% at Y642,000, according to Marketwatch.

"Softbank's recent solid performance in earnings has been supported mainly by the iPhone. It will be tough if the company loses the (sales) exclusivity," said Naoki Yokota, an analyst at SMBC Friend Research Center.

"It's also undeniable that Softbank's telecommunications quality lags other carriers," he adds.

Yokota says KDDI’s deal with Apple will allow the operator to extend its offerings beyond those of Android-based devices, in the smartphone segment.

The analyst also sees the iPhone’s strong brand as a way to attract more customers.

It remains to be seen whether KDDI will indeed carry the phone, as there is no confirmation from an actual company spokesperson.

Also debatable is whether there will actually be an iPhone 5, or an iPhone 4S to sell. Should Apple confirm the latest analyst estimates, there will be far less orders for the next iPhone, both in the United States, and overseas.


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