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Apple SIM gains Japanese network support through KDDI's 'au' brand

More than year after launching on iPad, Apple's flexible multi-carrier Apple SIM officially arrived in Japan on Monday with support from local telecom KDDI, which is partnering with Apple through its "au" mobile network brand.

Apple SIM's expansion into Japan was quietly announced on Apple's website on Monday, which now lists au as a partner service alongside AT&T, Sprint and T-Mobile in the U.S., EE in the UK, and GigSky in more than 90 countries.

With KDDI network support now live, Apple has started Apple SIM card sales in its Japanese retail stores, according to the dedicated informational webpage. Prior to today, the card was available at Apple Stores in Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK and the U.S.

Initially limited to iPad users in the U.S. and UK, Apple SIM gained broad international support after Apple struck a deal with GigSky in June. The travel-centric data service provides pre-paid connectivity in over 90 countries and territories, offering users Internet access at prices much lower than normal roaming fees.

Despite its obvious utility to consummate travelers, Apple SIM has yet to enjoy wide adoption beyond the carriers and networks mentioned above. The lack of support is in part thanks to restrictions designed by local carriers to lock in subscribers. Apple SIM currently ships with cellular-enabled iPad Air 2, iPad mini 4, iPad mini 3 and iPad Pro models.