US number three operator Sprint is apparently set to offer devices made by Sony for the first time, as part of a deal that also includes devices for Japanese operator SoftBank.
Reuters said that the deal covers a “soon to be launched Xperia flagship phone” – and Sony has a press conference scheduled for IFA later this week.
Sony is one of a number of vendors that are strong internationally, but have struggled in the US market. A deal with SoftBank, parent of Sprint, will enable it to bolster its position in this market, potentially with strong marketing support from the operator.
But Reuters also noted that Sprint is far behind the dominant players AT&T and Verizon Wireless, and with a new iPhone anticipated from Apple imminently, a launch with Sprint is far from a guaranteed success.
The deal also shows that SoftBank is clearly looking to take advantage of its international presence, which at the moment appears to be benefitting Japanese vendors.
Last month, it was announced that Sharp – a Japanese player that has come under pressure from international rivals in its home market – had benefitted from SoftBank’s largesse, with its Aquos Crystal also seeing a launch by Sprint.
Sony recently announced its devices business is struggling, although its woes seem to be focused more in its mid-tier portfolio.