Japan's NTT DoCoMo wants iPhone access as Apple partners gain subscribers

Posted:
in General Discussion edited January 2014
Japan's No. 1 cellular carrier NTT DoCoMo on Friday said it would be willing to negotiate a deal to sell the iPhone, a device that has become a driving force in net subscriber growth for Apple's partner carriers in the country.

DoCoMo iPhone


The president of NTT DoCoMo, Katoru Katō, said his company would be willing to add the iPhone to its existing lineup if the telecom can reach a mutually beneficial arrangement with Apple, reports the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (via Brightwire).

Apple requires partner carriers to sell a predetermined amount of iPhones per year and Kato said that DoCoMo can reach that number if the handset accounts for 20 to 30 percent of the company's overall smartphone sales. The telecom expects to bring in over $11 billion from Android-related e-commerce sales by the end of 2015.

A DoCoMo iPhone may not happen anytime soon, however, as the company is only now in preliminary negotiations to bring Apple's popular device onto its smartphone network.

News of Kato's willingness to adopt the iPhone comes one day after the Telecommunications Carriers Association announced that rival SoftBank raked in the most subscribers in December, signing up a total of 274,700 net contracts. The Japanese telecom, which started in the mobile industry after taking over Vodafone's Japan business, recently expanded into the U.S. after buying a controlling interest in Sprint.

Coming in second was KDDI with 239,200 net contracts while DoCoMo was third with 235,100 net subs. The statistics come one month after NTT DoCoMo announced its biggest ever net loss of subscribers in November, blaming the mass exodus on the iPhone.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 23
    nasseraenasserae Posts: 3,166member


    NTT DoCoMo then and now.


     


    image

  • Reply 2 of 23
    When DoCoMo start selling iPhone, it means game over.
  • Reply 3 of 23
    red oakred oak Posts: 907member
    "Mutually beneficial". LMAO. How about you better start carrying it or your going to turn into the #3 carrier. How is that for "mutually beneficial"

    Same goes for China Mobile. Apple should not give in and should continue to build its business with aggressive, second place carriers to help them take share

    Same approach as what happened in the US. Make the leader feel pain. NTT already is
  • Reply 4 of 23
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member
    Well analyst were wrong that Apple needs a $99 phone to grow its business.
  • Reply 5 of 23
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackbook View Post



    Well analyst were wrong that Apple needs a $99 phone to grow its business.


     


    True, but businesses can always grow another step.


     


    This doesn't change the need for something less expensive, if Apple wants to get into poorer countries.


     


    As for Japan, the iPhone barely sold at first.  It didn't get popular until it got subsidized down to free or almost free.

  • Reply 6 of 23
    jragostajragosta Posts: 10,473member
    kdarling wrote: »
    True, but businesses can always grow another step.

    This doesn't change the need for something less expensive, if Apple wants to get into poorer countries.

    As for Japan, the iPhone barely sold at first.  It didn't get popular until it got subsidized down to free or almost free.

    Why would Apple want to get into poorer countries? If the country can't support a price that Apple needs to be profitable, why bother?
  • Reply 7 of 23
    kdarlingkdarling Posts: 1,640member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jragosta View Post



    Why would Apple want to get into poorer countries? If the country can't support a price that Apple needs to be profitable, why bother?


     


    True, although it's not about just being profitable.  


     


    Anyone can make a small profit, and the low pricing of other companies' products (partly due to the way that ETSI members charge each other royalties by device price) is why billions of people can use a cell phone today, and why Apple had a ready made market for theirs.    


     


    The difference is, Apple desires to be hugely profitable.   Which is, of course, their choice... and their market limiting factor.

  • Reply 8 of 23
    >The president of NTT DoCoMo, Katoru Kat%u014D, said his company would be willing to add the iPhone to its existing lineup if the telecom can reach a mutually beneficial arrangement with Apple, reports the Nikkan Kogyo Shimbun (via Brightwire).

    I'm sure this has Apple quaking in its boots and willing to cut NTT a really good deal to get their business.:-) Not!

    >The statistics come one month after NTT DoCoMo announced its biggest ever net loss of subscribers in November, blaming the mass exodus on the iPhone.

    I'd be willing to bet that Apple isn't going to cut NTT any deal, but that NTT is going to sign up with them as soon as they possibly can. In the meantime, this is typical Japanese face saving talk. i.e.: We don't really need Apple, we don't really like Apple, but if the deal is right, we might consider adding their phone to our lineup." Ha!
  • Reply 9 of 23
    Well, good news for customers at least. And of course, Apple, which has had a barrier all along to get into the Japanese market.
  • Reply 10 of 23
    I don't understand the push to have Apple make a low cost phone.

    Apple is the number two mobile company in the world by volume.
    Apple is far and away the number one smartphone company in the world by profit.
    Apple has the largest ecosystem and has the only ecosystem which is internationalized and localized.
    Apple connectors are proprietary "standards."

    I don't understand how Android sells so well outside the United States since many of their products and services are not internationalized and localized. Many of the key features of the iPad and iPhone which are intrinsic to the devices have no first party equivalent functionality on Android.

    I could argue that the only threat that Android poses to Apple is that is frustrates so many users that the users don't consider a new smartphone.
  • Reply 11 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    I don't understand how Android sells so well outside the United States since many of their products and services are not internationalized and localized. Many of the key features of the iPad and iPhone which are intrinsic to the devices have no first party equivalent functionality on Android.

    I think it comes down to cost. Some off-brand vendor in a country can build an Android-based device without any import taxes. Add in all the other factors that lower the cost of a device and you have a market Apple simply doesn't play in but one that is huge. Have you seen the number of Android-based tablets on Amazon for under $100?
  • Reply 12 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    jpadhiyar wrote: »
    Well, good news for customers at least. And of course, Apple, which has had a barrier all along to get into the Japanese market.

    Apple has been selling the iPhone in Japan since June 26th, 2009 starting with the 3GS.

    Also, the iPhone 4 had a 5th band tested according to the FCC but their spec sheet only listed 4 bands. This 5th band was for NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest carrier. I'm guessing that expected a deal would be reached at some point but it feel through.
  • Reply 13 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by MacBook Pro View Post



    I don't understand how Android sells so well outside the United States since many of their products and services are not internationalized and localized. Many of the key features of the iPad and iPhone which are intrinsic to the devices have no first party equivalent functionality on Android.

     


    Which functions and/or features are you thinking of that make Apple devices a better match than Android (and others?) outside the US?


     


    iOS doesn't have native support as many languages as Android AFAIK. Nor offer mapping in more countries. Nor offer TBT navigation for more of them. Nor offer Voice Search support for as many dialects. Nor offers paid app support for more countries. Those all seem pretty good candidates for an "internationalized and localized" category don't they? 

  • Reply 14 of 23
    blackbookblackbook Posts: 1,361member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KDarling View Post


     


    True, but businesses can always grow another step.


     


    This doesn't change the need for something less expensive, if Apple wants to get into poorer countries.


     


    As for Japan, the iPhone barely sold at first.  It didn't get popular until it got subsidized down to free or almost free.



     


    Quote:

    Originally Posted by KDarling View Post


     


    True, although it's not about just being profitable.  


     


    Anyone can make a small profit, and the low pricing of other companies' products (partly due to the way that ETSI members charge each other royalties by device price) is why billions of people can use a cell phone today, and why Apple had a ready made market for theirs.    


     


    The difference is, Apple desires to be hugely profitable.   Which is, of course, their choice... and their market limiting factor.



     


    I think Apple may have a slightly cheaper iPhone up their sleeve, but my comment was mainly directed at the analyst that said Apple NEEDS a CHEAP iPhone in order to succeed and grow.


     


    If Apple makes a smaller cheaper iPhone it will only be to expand the brand not out of a necessity to survive as some analyst have made it seem.

  • Reply 15 of 23
    gatorguy wrote: »

    iOS doesn't have native support as many languages as Android AFAIK. Nor offer mapping in more countries. Nor offer TBT navigation for more of them. Nor offer Voice Search support for as many dialects. Nor offers paid app support for more countries. Those all seem pretty good candidates for an "internationalized and localized" category don't they? 

    iOS does cover a lot of languages, perhaps not in the growing Siri collection at this point but it is, as I said, growing, as is maps and turn by turn.

    And in the app front, that is the developers not Apple.
  • Reply 16 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by charlituna View Post





    iOS does cover a lot of languages, perhaps not in the growing Siri collection at this point but it is, as I said, growing, as is maps and turn by turn.



    And in the app front, that is the developers not Apple.


    I would completely agree with your comments. Apple is improving their local support with every iOS update and certainly aims to cover what they feel are the most important regions and languages.


     


    MacBook Pro said that Android doesn't have the international and localized features that iOS does which I'd have to disagree with. That's unless he has some significant examples of those iOS key features that show where Android lacks in that regard.

  • Reply 17 of 23
    solipsismxsolipsismx Posts: 19,566member
    gatorguy wrote: »
    iOS doesn't have native support as many languages as Android AFAIK.

    Wikipedia says Apple supports 34 languages but only listed "multi-lingual" on Android's wikipage I was able to find an article that stated "While Froyo (2.2) only had 26 languages, Gingerbread comes in with a whopping 57 languages" That is clearly more than iOS but to what constitutes language support? I see in the list that the same language is support multiple times with a regional variant. Does iOS catalog them the same way? Just like with their cut/copy/paste when Apple includes it they tend to do a more thorough job of it.
  • Reply 18 of 23
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 23,304member

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by SolipsismX View Post





    Wikipedia says Apple supports 34 languages but only listed "multi-lingual" on Android's wikipage I was able to find an article that stated "While Froyo (2.2) only had 26 languages, Gingerbread comes in with a whopping 57 languages" That is clearly more than iOS but to what constitutes language support? I see in the list that the same language is support multiple times with a regional variant. Does iOS catalog them the same way? Just like with their cut/copy/paste when Apple includes it they tend to do a more thorough job of it.


    The list of native Android languages is here Soli. 


    http://us.dinodirect.com/Forum/Latest-Posts-5/Android-Versions-and-their-Locales-1-86587/


     


    iOS supported language list is here:


    http://kb.applingua.com/2011/07/which-languages-does-ios-support/


     


    If you want to also look at voice search support Android is here:


    http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2012/08/voice-search-arrives-in-13-new-languages.html


     


    While iOS is here:


    http://www.apple.com/ios/siri/siri-faq/


     


    Yes, it appears Apple breaks the languages down by dialect, with both French and Canadian French (and both Spanish and Mexican Spanish separately noted too) listed among the 15 supported voice languages.

  • Reply 19 of 23
    gwmacgwmac Posts: 1,799member


    DoCoMo is kind of like both Verizon and AT&T here in the U.S. in terms of subscribers and also coverage maps. They are nearly as big as both Softbank and KDDI combined. I guess you could compare them to Sprint and T-Mobile in terms of the size difference. It is true DoCoMo has not been gaining subscribers but that also has to do with better, cheaper, and far more flexible plans as much as not having the iPhone. Because they are the biggest they still think they can charge the most per month. Softbank and KDDI have both improved their networks quite a bit and although DoCoMo still has a much bigger map, the others are now good enough for most people in the population centers. Out in the boonies like Gifu or Gunma you might not get a signal, you can get a good signal in Nagoya, Osaka, Sapporo and all the other cities where most people live. 


     


    So I think even if DoCoMo gets the iPhone they may not stop the bleeding until they address their plan pricing to better compete. DoCoMo got thrown for a loop with smartphones since they thought their version of cellphone internet called i-mode was sufficient. It wasn't and so they gambled and lost that bet. Those were the days before smartphones and the Japanese flip phones were envied all over the world as very high tech. Now they look like dinosaurs and are forced to sell phones from their hated Korean rivals which galls them to no end. 


     


    One other problem might be the bands they use. Some are included in the iPhone 5 and some aren't. Without 1700 and 2100 support in the iPhone, an iPhone on Docomo would not get very good coverage. 


    " It provides 2G (mova) PDC cellular services on the 800 MHz band, and 3G FOMA W-CDMA services on the 2 GHz (UMTS2100) and 800 MHz(UMTS800(Band VI)) and 1700 MHz(UMTS1700(Band IX)) bands, and 4G LTE services." 

  • Reply 20 of 23
    65c81665c816 Posts: 133member
    Wasn't DoCoMo the company that loudly and proudly proclaimed that if Apple won't let them customize the iPhone (read: install crapware), they won't sell it?

    My.... how quickly do they change their tune... :)
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