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The nation’s three major mobile phone carriers on Friday started taking preorders for Apple Inc.’s first 5G-enabled iPhones ahead of their Oct. 23 release.

“The era of 5G has come,” KDDI Corp. President Makoto Takahashi told a news conference, referring to the ultrafast wireless network.

KDDI sells the iPhone 12 at ¥49,930 for the 64-gigabyte model under discount programs.

With discount offers, the same model is priced at ¥55,440 at SoftBank Corp. and ¥67,584 at NTT Docomo Inc..

At present, iPhones account for about half of the smartphone market in Japan. Upgrades may spur interest in nation’s lagging 5G services, industry sources said.

KDDI said it will make people age 29 or younger eligible for student discounts for 5G plans.

The company also said it aims to expand its 5G network to cover 90 percent of the country’s population by the end of fiscal 2021.

Takahashi said his company will unveil new mobile service plans by November in response to a request by Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga to lower wireless bills.

KDDI is considering internationally competitive rates, Takahashi said.

NTT Docomo and SoftBank have yet to reveal when they will announce their new plans.

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