Japan’s Softbank: Free 16GB iPhone 3GS With Two-Year Commitment

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Japan carrier Softbank Tuesday introduced a new wrinkle in its attempt to tempt that country’s cell phone-hungry citizens into adopting Apple’s iPhone. The company said it will give a 16GB iPhone 3GS to anyone willing to sign-up for two years. A 32GB iPhone 3GS is priced at about $6 per month.

The announcement is part of “iPhone for all of Softbank,” a new campaign to launch Friday, Dec. 4. The offer of a free 16GB iPhone 3GS may be a response to a scarcity of iPhone 3G handsets in Japan. Softbank may become one of the first carriers to stop offering the iPhone 3G, reports said Tuesday.

This isn’t the first time the carrier has offered free iPhones as part of a campaign to spark interest in Apple’s popular handset. Earlier this year, Softbank launched its “iPhone for Everybody” campaign, reducing the price for 8GB iPhones to free. Previously the cell phone cost $238 in Japan.

After a slow start with Japan’s gadget-hungry consumers, the iPhone has built up about 20 percent of the market. Recently, the iPhone was introduced in South Korea, another nation that loves technology. That country’s carrier, KT, has received 53,000 advance orders for the iPhone since November 22. The high interest in the Apple device has caused Samsung and other top cell phone makers to reduce prices.

[Via MacMagazine (Translated) and MacNN]

About the author

Ed SutherlandEd Sutherland is a veteran technology journalist who first heard of Apple when they grew on trees, Yahoo was run out of a Stanford dorm and Google was an unknown upstart. Since then, Sutherland has covered the whole technology landscape, concentrating on tracking the trends and figuring out the finances of large (and small) technology companies.

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