KDDI iPhone 5 deal smashes SoftBank exclusivity

Japanese carrier KDDI has apparently ousted arch-rival SoftBank's monopoly on the iPhone, with a new deal that will likely see the iPhone 5 offered on both networks. Like AT&T in the US before it, SoftBank had been Apple's exclusive partner for the iPhone at launch; that will change with the debut of the fifth-gen model, the Nikkei Business reports, while the handset itself will supposedly support CDMA as well as GSM.

That fits in with previous reports that the iPhone 5 would be a so-called World Phone, with a single model capable of using both GSM frequencies – as A&T and most of Europe uses – and CDMA networks – such as Verizon. The smartphone is also tipped to have an 8-megapixel camera and debut a larger display, increasing the panel size from the 3.5-inches of all previous iPhone versions.

Interestingly, NTT DoCoMo is believed to have been left out in the cold from Apple's new deal. Sales on SoftBank had supposedly been dwindling, prompting Apple to broaden its scope in Japan. KDDI is yet to confirm the deal, as are SoftBank and Apple, but the carrier is expected to have paid handsomely for the privilege of offering the iPhone 5.

[Thanks Tom!]