Softbank, Telefonica are latest operators to get iPhone deals

Japanese and Spanish consumers will get a taste of the iPhone by the end of the year. Softbank, which is Japan's third largest operator, cut a deal with Apple and said it will begin selling the iPhone by year-end.  Likewise, Telefonica SA in Spain says that it will begin selling the iPhone in 2008.

Japan is a particularly attractive market for Apple because it is one of the most sophisticated mobile phone markets. Japanese consumers typically pay hundreds of dollars for high-tech phones that have digital TV services and GPS location technology. In addition, launching the iPhone in Japan will be critical to meeting Apple's goal of shipping 10 million iPhones worldwide by the end of the year. Apple sold about 1.7 million iPhones in its fiscal second-quarter, ended March 29.

Of course here in the U.S. the anticipation is growing for next week's rumored launch of the 3G iPhone. Stay tuned for more details.

For more:
- read this WSJ story (sub. req.)

Related stories:
AT&T: 95% of iPhone owners surf the mobile web. Read this iPhone story
Report: T-Mobile, O2, Orange get iPhone. Read this iPhone story
3G iPhone Watch: AT&T discourages vacations. Read this iPhone story