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First figures show iPhone 3G was a huge hit

iPhone sales
The iPhone sold out in Japan too

A month on from the launch of the latest version of the iPhone, we have the first data on sales from one of the only countries where Apple may have privately feared for its 3G handset – Japan.

As if in response to critics who suggested the US mobile would flop in the face of established Japanese models, the iPhone appears to have sold in huge numbers, drawing new customers to its sole carrier, Softbank Mobile.

Softbank victorious

Industry figures for July show that Softbank gained 215,400 new subscribers, easily topping the chart ahead of its two main rivals. The gain represented over half of the 391,500 new contracts taken out with all carriers last month.

Even though many of the features common to Japanese phones, such as RFID e-cash, are missing from the iPhone, it rapidly sold out in Japan, just as it did in the rest of the world.

Others deflated

Softbank's only response to the figures was to say, "We believe our large net growth was an iPhone effect."

Third-place carrier KDDI was clearly chastened, commenting, "We are accepting the fact ... that our handsets weren't attractive enough."