Softbank has announced it has signed a deal to bring the Apple iPhone to Japanese shores later this year.

The two line press release shows the third biggest operator in the country has pulled off something of a coup to beat the larger players, such as NTT DoCoMo, to the punch.

3G iPhone almost confirmed

Of more interest is the fact Softbank doesn’t offer GSM networks, clearly stating the device will have to find alternative coverage: i.e. 3G.

DoCoMo has been under pressure in recent years as the incumbent number one in the country, and has been overhauling everything from its price plans to its logo.

It also has over three times the subscribers Softbank has, so it will be interesting to see if a reason for selecting the former Vodafone operator appears.

Softbank has had notoriously bad coverage in certain areas of the country too, so one assumes this will have to be sorted before the release.

TechRadar has managed to gain a great ‘no comment’ from Softbank and rival network KDDI, though DoCoMo is set to get back to us. Watch this space for almost definite confirmation of the 3G iPhone.