Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs has spoken with executives from Japan's number-one and number-three wireless operators, NTT DoCoMo (DCM) and Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBF), in preparation to rollout his company's blockbuster iPhone in Japan, one of the world's biggest and most sophisticated mobile markets, the Wall Street Journal reported Tuesday. A solid entry into Japan is key to Apple reaching its stated goal of 10 million iPhones sold by the end of 2008, or 1% of the global market. Japan's nearly 100 million mobile users buy a new cellphone every two years, on average, often expensive feature-loaded models.
Sources say that DoCoMo is likely to be Apple's first choice, in light of the preference Apple has shown so far to rollout with top-tier mobile operators. A sticking point in the negotiations, sources say, is that Apple wants the same revenue cut it's getting from current carriers AT&T (T) in the U.S., Deutsche Telekom's (DT) T-Mobile of Germany, France Telecom's (FTE) Orange, and Telefonica's (TEF) O2 in the U.K.; some estimates put it at about 10%. If unable to come to terms with DoCoMo, Apple may turn to Softbank, which is aggressively pursuing its larger rivals' customers.
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