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Apple's iPhone Momentum Tested in Japan

Tokyo, Aug 11, 2008 (Jiji Press) - Softbank Mobile Corp. is boosting its efforts to shore up sales of Apple Inc.'s iPhone 3G just one month after the handset's strong Japanese debut.

Initially, annual iPhone 3G sales were projected to top one million units, but now many forecast the sales will reach slightly over 100,000 units, an industry source said.

Softbank Mobile, the handset's only seller in Japan, has revised its pricing of data communication fees for iPhone 3G users to a monthly range of 1,695 yen to 5,985 yen, depending on data usage, from an initial flat rate of 5,985 yen.

Masayoshi Son, president of Softbank Mobile and its parent, Softbank Corp. <9984>, said earlier this month he wanted to put iPhone in the hands of people who did not buy it due to its high price.

Before the new fee plan, the mobile carrier failed to attract customers who mainly use their handsets for e-mails and phone calls.

Michito Kimura, senior analyst at market research firm IDC Japan, says iPhone sales are unlikely to rise sharply.

But there is a view that the iPhone has immeasurable growth potential because users can customize it as much as they wish by downloading software they like.

An official at a major telecommunications company says that a big software hit such as a game might help iPhone turn around its fortunes in Japan.

By Jiji Press, (c) Jiji Press

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