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Japan's Softbank signs up for iPhone

DoCoMo too?

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It's official: Japanese cellco Softbank will offer Apple's iPhone, the company said today.

Like all the other carriers who've announced they'll begin selling the handset, Softbank said the iPhone would be added to its network "later this year", news agency Reuters reports.

Expect it sooner rather than later. Certainly, World+Dog is sure Apple is going to announce the new, 3G version of the handset in just five days' time.

Softbank was one of the first carriers to be rumoured to be taking on the iPhone outside the US. Back in May 2006, it went on record to state it was not developing an iPod-cum-telephone with Apple, at the time alleged to be a 3G device.

Softbank competes with NTT DoCoMo and KDDI. It's been claimed DoCoMo will offer the iPhone too, though a spokesman declined to comment when Reuters asked today. However, with Apple clearly adopting a multi-carrier sales strategy in a number of territories - Italy and Australia, to name but two - it's hard to see Softbank getting an exclusive on the phone at this stage.

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