There is word going around that all is not well for Softbank in the Land of the Rising Sun. Wait a minute – is the CEO experiencing some sort of scandalous reports, or is the company bleeding money to stay afloat in these economically challenging times? Not quite, but whispers have it that Softbank might lose its exclusive domestic distribution rights for the iPhone in one of Asia’s biggest mobile markets, as they will soon need to share the market with competitor KDDI.

According to Nikkei Business Online, KDDI au, Japan’s second largest mobile carrier with 33 million subscribers, will also be one of the carriers to offer the iPhone 5 from next year onwards. Assuming the October release date for the iPhone 5 is applied in Japan as well, this means Softbank has just slightly more than a quarter’s head start to shift the anticipated iPhone 5 before its closest competitor starts to (possibly) eat up their lead.

So far, Apple and KDDI have yet to confirm the Nikkei Business report. What do you think?

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