Japanese iPhone to sell for $215

Some in Japan are counting the days, waiting for July 11 to come when the new iPhone goes on sale. The country’s number three mobile phone company, Softbank Corp. will sell the handy 8 gigabyte device for 23,040 yen, or about $215. The 16 gigabyte model will sell for around $320.

The Japanese mobile market is known for its competitiveness. In the past, mobile carriers have practically given away high-end mobile phones to get customers to sign up for service, so the companies could gain market share and earn revenue through fees. But as the Japanese market nears the saturation point, the more sophisticated handsets have increased in price.

A high-end mobile phone now costs around $470 in Japan. Softbank is hoping to break into this market with the iPhone by subsidizing the price similar to the level of help American buyers get from AT&T. The 8 gigabyte iPhone will sell for $199 in the U.S., and its 16 gigabyte partner has a $299 sticker price. Both Softbank and AT&T will take initial hits by setting the prices so low but hope to make back the revenue through lengthy franchise contracts and service fees.