Japan’s largest mobile carrier, NTT DoCoMo, will begin offering iPhones later this year after reaching an agreement with Apple.
DoCoMo is believed to be launching new iPhones “this fall”, including the next-generation smartphone that will debut in September at Apple headquarters in Cupertino, California.
Apple’s smartphone has sold well in Japan, offered by Softbank Corp and KDDI Corp.
Both of Japan’s two second-largest mobile carriers grew from its iPhones sales, leaving DoCoMo, with 60 million subscribers, by a margin.
The deal will “promote the shift toward smartphones from feature phones in Japan,” Hitoshi Hayakawa, an analyst at Credit Suisse Group AG in Tokyo, said.
“Smartphone penetration is still about 40% in Japan, and there is room for growth.”
Executives at DoCoMo previously played down any notion that not carrying the Apple smartphone was hurting business, but admitted last year that the lack of iPhone offerings led to a net loss in customers over one quarter.
DoCoMo had wanted to install the carrier’s proprietary apps on the device before their sales to customers. Apple refused and the agreement stalled for over a year.
Apple is also said to be eyeing China’s largest mobile carrier China Mobile for its iPhone after striking a deal with China Telecom. The company will also be hosting “satellite” iPhone events in Tokyo, Berlin and Beijing.
By: Maesie Bertumen
Image: Yutaka Tsutano/Flickr