iPhone to Shake Up Japan's Cellphone Industry?

A Softbank official believes that the iPhone represents a turning point in Japanese mobile phones and that competing Japanese phones will have to revamp their handsets to allow for more sophisticated software to keep up.

Faced with increased competition, Japanese handset providers will have to provide more software-oriented machines like the touch-screen iPhone, said Tetsuzo Matsumoto, a senior executive vice president at Softbank Mobile.

Other Japanese mobile providers are, of course, skeptical.

Wired had previously explored the significant differences in the mobile phone market in Japan and questioned whether or not the iPhone could make a significant dent in the unique mobile market.

The iPhone, however, seems to have done quite well in Japan during its launch in July. Rival carrier KDDI Corp saw net losses in their retention rates while SoftBank saw net growth of 52,000 subscriptions which SoftBank believes was directly due to the iPhone.