June 4, 2008 / 6:54 AM / 12 years ago

Softbank says to sell Apple's iPhone in Japan

TOKYO (Reuters) - Softbank Corp (9984.T), Japan’s third-biggest mobile phone operator, has agreed with Apple Inc (AAPL.O) to sell iPhones in Japan by the end of this year, Softbank said in a statement on Wednesday.

Softbank spokesman Fumihiro Ito said he did not have further details on the deal such as whether the company would be the exclusive provider of the phones in Japan.

Softbank, which bought Vodafone Group’s (VOD.L) Japan unit in 2006, has been luring subscribers from bigger rivals NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T) and KDDI Corp (9433.T) with its aggressive marketing and low-price plans.

Industry leader DoCoMo has been widely seen as another candidate to provide iPhones in Japan. DoCoMo spokesman Shuichiro Ichikoshi declined to say if it had also signed an agreement with Apple.

Reporting by Sachi Izumi; Editing by Hugh Lawson

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