iPhone gets all-you-can-eat data in Japan too

Handset and data pricing largely in line with the West

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News from Japan of price plans for the 3G iPhone when it goes on sale there next month may not dispel the slightly giddy fears that it will flop in that country, but they do confirm that Apple's price promise of a cheaper phone will be upheld.

Softbank Mobile announced yesterday that it would be charging ¥23,040 (£109) for the 8GB iPhone and ¥34,560 (£163) for the 16GB version, which is as close to the prices Steve Jobs promised as makes no difference.

No voice included

Of more concern to Japanese customers will be the monthly plans – Softbank says they'll have to sign up to an unlimited data plan that costs ¥5,8985 (£28), with voice calls extra on top of that.

However, the iPhone isn't likely to draw particularly price-conscious customers to Softbank. CEO Masayoshi Son said, "There have been users who were just attracted to our low price [in the recent past], but the main point this time is feature attractiveness rather than price."

Son has a good point, but how attractive those features will be to Japanese punters getting used to e-cash and mobile telly remains to be seen.