Sales got another boost in late September when NTT DoCoMo Inc., Japan’s largest wireless carrier, began offering the iPhone for the first time to its 61.8 million customers. Even before that, the iPhone was Japan’s best-selling smartphone, with a 37% market share in the six months ended Sept. 30, according to Tokyo’s MM Research Institute. That’s comparable to the iPhone’s 36% share in the U.S. in the third quarter, according to Kantar Worldpanel ComTech … Read more
The 40 percent figure is believed to be the quota that Apple and DoCoMo agreed on, the report said [...] This development marks a tectonic shift in DoCoMo’s strategy and the Japanese phone market in general. Domestic phone suppliers like Sharp and Fujitsu are expected to suffer as a result … Read more
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.
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
UPDATE [Thursday, December 1, 2011 at 8:50am ET]: Carrier NTT DoCoMo has issued an official statement addressing the Nikkei Business report, included at the end of the article.
According to the Japanese blog Macotakara, which relayed a Nikkei Business story, Apple is gearing up for a 2012 release of both 4G LTE iPhone and iPad on NTT DoCoMo, the predominant mobile phone operator in Japan. According to the machine-translated article:
NTT DOCOMO releases iPad for LTE in the summer of next year and releases iPhone for LTE by autumn.
The Fall 2011 timeframe for a 4G LTE iPhone 5 sounds right as it’s about a year since the October 14 debut of iPhone 4S. The carrier’s president Takashi Yamada and vice president Kiyoyuki Tsujimura allegedly met with Apple CEO Tim Cook mid-November to discuss the deal. They reportedly “agreed in principle” to sell both the next-generation iPhone and iPad. The executives apparently pinned down the rules of the game at the meeting, including order commitment.
Despite the rumor-mill insisting that Apple was readying a 4G LTE iPhone, the company’s management downplayed the fourth-generation Long Term Evolution radio technology because the current crop of 4G LTE chips are not fully optimized for low power consumption on mobile devices. Apple’s chief financial officer Peter Oppenheimer said on an April 2011 earnings call:
The first generation of LTE chipsets force a lot of design compromises with the handset, and some of those we are just not willing to make.
The Wall Street Journal reported mid-November that negotiations with carriers in Asia came to a standstill because Apple was requiring iPhone sellers to commit to too large a volume. Additionally, NTT DoCoMo wanted to control what software goes on users’ iPhones, a concession Apple was unwilling to make.