Carriers start taking iPhone pre-orders - ( J44P44NN )

Friday, September 13, 2013

Competition for mobile phone vendors spiked Friday as Japan’s three top players began taking pre-orders for Apple Inc.’s iPhone 5C. The recent decision by NTT DoCoMo Inc. to finally sell iPhones now puts more pressure on rivals KDDI and Softbank.

Sales of the latest iPhone models — the 5C and more upmarket 5S — begin Friday.

In an apparent bid to stop customers from leaving, market leader DoCoMo says it is essentially giving away the 16GB and 32GB versions of the cheaper model, the brightly colored iPhone 5C, to anybody, even current customers, who signs a two-year contract.

Although the two models are priced by memory size at ¥85,680 and ¥95,760, users can get them for free in effect through monthly discounts that over two years equal the handsets’ prices.

The same deal applies to the high-end 16GB iPhone 5S, DoCoMo said. The 32GB model will cost ¥10,080 and the 64GB ¥20,160.

No pre-orders are being taken for the iPhone 5S.

Depending on whether subscribers are new or current, KDDI Corp., which runs the au brand, is offering the 16GB iPhone 5Cs for either ¥0 or for ¥3,240 with a two-year contract. The 32GB model will go for either ¥4,800 or ¥14,160.

The actual prices for KDDI’s iPhone 5C are ¥52,920 for the 16GB model and ¥63,000 for the 32GB.

KDDI, DoCoMo and Softbank Corp. say their monthly data network fee is ¥5,460.

Softbank had provided no details of its handset prices as of 4 p.m., when the carriers started accepting pre-orders. A Softbank spokesman said it is not yet known when it will be able to disclose prices.