iPhone UPDATE1 -->
TOKYO, Sept. 13 -- (Kyodo) _ (EDS: UPDATING WITH START OF PRE-ORDERS, ADDING INFO)
Mobile phone carriers began taking pre-orders for Apple Inc.'s iPhone 5c from Friday afternoon in Japan, with NTT Docomo Inc.'s first launch of the popular handset series further fueling competition between carriers.
In Japan, NTT Docomo, Softbank Mobile Corp. and KDDI Corp. are selling the two newest models of the iPhone including the lower-price iPhone 5c. The carriers will not take pre-orders for the premium iPhone 5s, which features a fingerprint security sensor that can unlock the handset.
NTT Docomo said it will offer the 16-gigabyte iPhone 5s effectively for free with a two-year contract by discounting monthly fees. As for the iPhone 5c, the same free-handset discount will be applied for both 16-gigabyte and 32-gigabyte models.
KDDI will also offer the 16-gigabyte iPhone 5s effectively for free with a two-year contract, but only to people switching from other carriers to subscribe to its "au" service. It will cost 14,160 yen for existing subscribers to upgrade to the iPhone 5s, KDDI said.
Softbank Mobile has yet to announce pricing despite the start of pre-orders.
With the iPhone proving very popular in Japan, NTT Docomo suffered an exodus of subscribers, leading to its decision to finally add the iPhone to its lineup.
The iPhone 5c and 5s will go on sale next Friday.