To celebrate the upcoming official re-branding of Vodafone KK to SoftBank Mobile, due for 1 October, we just received a press release [.PDF in Japanese] announcing the company will offer – starting today – a free 2-GB iPod nano to customers who buy their 705sh handset. We expected to hear more from the folks in Shiodome about their mobile number portability battle plan and this looks like a good start. We also should point out that Vodafone have already been selling the best example of an iPhone, the V803T by Toshiba, in Japan for well over a year now.
There was a lot of speculation earlier this year – after Masayoshi Son met with Steve Jobs – that SoftBank would be making Apple’s long-rumored iPhone. Perhaps this announcement was part of that discussion and no doubt we’ll likely see more co-op (fixed-line- and mobile-related) between them in the future. Maybe they will work out a way to actually merge the two devices? This is a pretty slick move, though, to tempt people with a free iPod, which is more like buying the iPod nano and getting the handset free – as most models end up going for 1 yen after 6 months (to a year) on the market anyway. — Eds.