The iPhone may soon be available on more than one carrier in Japan as the iPhone 5 is coming to competitor KDDI, reports Nikkei Business. The publication quotes ‘officials’ that are saying that KDDI has obtained a contract to sell the upcoming iPhone in Japan and will sell it under its ‘au’ brand starting in November.
This would end the single carrier monopoly on Apple’s iPhone that has existed since Softbank, a relatively new wireless subscriber established in 2006, signed on to carry the iPhone 3G in Japan in 2008.
With this new contract in place, Japanese subscribers will have the choice of either KDDI or Softbank, although the biggest carrier in Japan, NTT DoCoMo, has yet to carry the iPhone. Although exact numbers haven’t been revealed, Softbank has been estimated by Gartner to have sold around 7.5 million iPhones.
The publication says that this will be a CDMA device that would be carried under KDDI’s au imprint, but the new iPhone hardware has long been rumored to carry a chip that is capable of working across CDMA and GSM networks, without requiring separate hardware.
Since Softbank began carrying the iPhone, it has steadily gained ground on KDDI, with projections showing it very close to eclipsing the older carrier shortly. Introducing the iPhone to KDDI could very well reverse this trend. Currently something like half of Softbank’s new customers are choosing iPhones.
Earlier this morning a report from All Things D indicated that the date of Apple’s next event will be October 4th. This statement was later corroborated by Jim Dalrymple of The Loop. Both Dalrymple and All Things D are known to be excellent sources of Apple information so we’re pretty confident that this date is correct.
Many rumors recently have been focused on the fact that there are two models being developed, a cheaper, although cosmetically similar, version of the iPhone 4 and a new, redesigned iPhone 5. The report from KDDI points to an “iPhone 5” only.