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Softbank offers a free 8GB iPhone with a two year contract.

Japanese cell phone provider SoftBank has implemented a temporary promotion that offers customers a free 8GB iPhone with a two-year contract. The 8GB version is free with the basic, premium, or student plan. The 16GB version costs ¥11,520 ($120USD) and the cost is spread out over two years as an additional ¥480 ($5USD) added to the monthly fee. This is a common practice often used to tack on additional fees in Japan.

The promotion is called the "iPhone for Everybody Campaign" and runs until the end of May. In addition to the free iPhone promotion, Softbank has also dropped the maximum price of the standard data plan to ¥4410 ($45USD) from ¥5985 ($62USD).

In Japan the iPhone launched on July 11, 2008 to mixed success. Only a month after launch Softbank was dropping fees in order to attract more customers to the iPhone. When it launched, the iPhone was lacking features specific to the Japanese market that exists on almost all cell phones in this market. Features the iPhone lacks include the ability to pay for purchases using the phone called FeliCA, the ability to watch television on the phone using the 1Seg service, and the inability to text message using one hand which is standard practice in Japan.

Despite its struggles, the iPhone has been able to stay in the Japanese market and at least compete. This is impressive in of itself as even Nokia has given up and pulled out of the Japanese Market. Although Japanese cell phones do incorporate many advanced features, the interface and the menus are often complicated and difficult to use.

In Japan, the iPhone has brand recognition and a simple to use interface which may be some of the factors allowing it to compete in this market.





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