Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs has spoken with executives from Japan's number-one and number-three wireless operators, NTT DoCoMo (DCM) and Softbank (SFTBF.PK), 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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