Japan’s largest wireless carrier, NTT DoCoMo, reportedly in talks to sell iPhone

iPhone-5S-Champagne

iPhone 5S Champagne

Bloomberg is reporting that shares of NTT DoCoMo are rising on rumors that Japan’s largest carrier will get the iPhone this year. The company’s rivals, KDDI and Softbank (who just bought Sprint) both currently carry the iPhone and saw their share price drop in morning trading.

[DoCoMo]Chief Financial Officer Kazuto Tsubouchi said there are compelling reasons for Apple and his company to reach an agreement, according to an interview published in SankeiBiz. For Apple, it doesn’t make business sense not to allow Japan’s largest wireless carrier to sell the iPhone, while DoCoMo wants to be able to sell most popular handsets, Sankei said.

The original Sankei article is here (translated) with the relevant bit translated by 9to5Mac reader Kazuto Kusakari:

A new iPhone from Apple is expected in September.  The Japanese market are paying close attention to whether NTT docomo will be selling the new model or not.  Having sold two other models as their main phones in the past summer season, the company is ready, as the vice-president Kazuto Tsubouchi has commented “the only problem is WHEN we are going to sell it.”…

Tsubouchi adds, “Nothing has changed.  It will be difficult (to sell the iPhone on September 10th). But for Apple, it is not economically reasonable to not sell the iPhone on Japan’s largest carrier.  As for NTT docomo, we must sell phone the customers desire.  It’s a matter of terms.

Apple is also working on China’s largest carrier, China Mobile, which also doesn’t currently carry the iPhone. If Apple can hook one or optimally both of these two monster carriers, it will be able to sell significantly more iPhones in Asia. Read more

KDDI snags Apple’s iPhone in Japan breaking Softbank’s monopoly

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According to a Nikkei Business report (English), another iPhone carrier exclusive country has fallen. Softbank (in blue, above) in Japan has had a monopoly on the iPhone for the past three years in the world’s third largest economy. However, with the release of next iPhone, KDDI/au will carry the device. Both carriers still trail behind the leader NTT, as you can see in the un-translated image above.

According to the report, the iPhone will hit HDDI/au shops in November, a little later than the US expects to see them. If I’m not mistaken, KDDI operates a CDMA network, which is thought to be built into the upcoming worldphone iPhones.

This could still mean big market share gains for Apple in the country that Android hit by storm over the past two years.

KDDI’s shares were up 2.1% at Y642,000, while Softbank’s shares dropped 7.3% to Y2,413.