DoCoMo to sell RIM's Blackberry to Japanese consumers

NTT DoCoMo said on Monday it will start selling Research In Motion's BlackBerry smart phones to individual users in Japan from the 1 August, less than a month after its rival launches Apple's iPhone in the country.

Users of the BlackBerry Internet service will be able to connect directly to the Internet without a dedicated server, and DoCoMo hopes it will appeal to individuals and small to medium businesses. DoCoMo, Japan's biggest mobile phone operator, has been seeking rights to sell the iPhone in Japan, but smaller rival Softbank won the contract first.

Third-ranked Softbank, which has been steadily eating into DoCoMo's market share with its quirky marketing and aggressive price cuts, will launch the iPhone in Japan on 11 July.

DoCoMo has been selling the BlackBerry since 2006 for corporate clients. It began with an English-only service then added a Japanese service in 2007.

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