NTT DoCoMo CEO Cites 'Compelling Reasons' to Reach Long-Elusive iPhone Deal with Apple in Japan

nttdocomoKazuto Tsubouchi, CEO of Japan’s biggest wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo, said Monday in an interview with Japanese business magazine Sankeibiz [Google Translate] (via Bloomberg) that there are “compelling reasons” for Apple and the wireless carrier to reach an agreement to sell the iPhone. The carrier, which has never sold Apple’s mobile device before, saw its stock price surge after the interview while shares of chief rivals Softbank and KDDI dropped.

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.

No deal has been reached and the two companies may not be able to come to terms, Sankei reported.

Last week, prominent Japanese business newspaper Nikkei claimed that both the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C would launch in Japan on September 20, which is also speculated to be the date for the first wave of launches for Apple’s new iPhone models. That report claimed, however, that only KDDI and Softbank would be in that wave, with DoCoMo remaining on the sidelines.

DoCoMo has been shedding customers to its rivals over the last few years as it has yet to launch the iPhone, with the carrier reportedly remaining firm in its demands to be able to preload its own apps and services on the device. Even with the losses, however, the carrier still holds over 40% of the Japanese mobile phone market.

Earlier this month, a report stated that talks between China Mobile and Apple have been “progressing smoothly”, and that both sides were optimistic about reaching a deal. China Mobile is by far the world’s biggest carrier and, like DoCoMo, does not presently carry the iPhone. Apple appears set to unveil its next-generation iPhones on September 10.

Top Rated Comments

(View all)
Avatar
91 months ago
Why do wireless carriers insist on putting their bloatware on phones? This is one of the reasons I love the iphone :)
Score: 6 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago
Love or hate Apple, but GOOD FOR THEM for demanding and never giving exception to carriers providing a clean, uniform experience with no bloatware. Could you imaging an ugly red iPhone with vCast all over it?
Score: 3 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago

I hate preloaded apps from carriers however I would have no issue with them IF you could delete them if you wanted to. If they are not removable like Apples stock apps or Android carrier bloatware apps then that would be terrible


Yes, but if Apple allowed one carrier to do this, then it would simply snowball out of control as others will also want to do it. Even if there is/isn't the option of uninstalling it, IMHO that wouldn't make much difference.

Buy a stock HP laptop and you'll get loads of HP bloatware. Sure, you can appwiz that stuff and uninstall it, but it's still bloatware. Apple are good to stay firm on this point, and ultimately DoCoMo need the iPhone more than the iPhone needs DoCoMo.
Score: 2 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago

Even with the losses, however, the carrier still holds over 40% of the Japanese mobile phone market.


Eh, here in Japan, if you want an iPhone you've probably switched, hence Docomo's massive outflow of customers.

Fact is, up until the iPhone, phones here were burdened with awful, awful carrier-designed apps and logos. Carriers demanded seasonal updates to phones to accommodate every fad ever. It was impossible for phonemakers to scale. Apple is standing firm because acceding to the demands of one carrier diminishes their bargaining power against every single carrier they have on board and ever intend to bring on board. Others may want them to fail out of some misguided hatred, but even if I switch at some point I'd rather have Apple fighting that battle.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago
Compelling as in, stay in business.

I've been reading about this from time to time and I think DoCoMo needs to just suck it up and reach the same deal as any other phone company, this mean losing a lot of their tie in products and services.

I know there was a trend for cellphone companies to offer music and TV and other services, but that quickly eroded into just wanting a phone that has fast connection to the Internet. Most customers don't want to pay an extra $20 month to watch TV on a phone when they can simply get their content from other online sources.

Perhaps the Japanese crowd is a bit different, but I think clearly DoCoMo is losing customers that simply want an iPhone. DoCoMo needs to concede.

And while I am sure Apple would enjoy having DoCoMo's customer base as iPhone users, I don't think Apple is hurting at all from not having a contract with DoCoMo, however its not the same the other way around.

Not sure if this is another situation where Japanese honor or pride is hurting their business, but we have seen this over and over again with many Japanese companies over the last decade not adapting fast enough to the needs of their customers, both local and worldwide.
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Avatar
91 months ago
Docomo is far expensive than other carriers. I can't count how many of my friends switched from Docomo to Softbank. They are loosing so many customers every day, they are lasting only because the name NTT and maybe they have some other ways to get money (government help?). They have the typical stubbornness of an almost government company, they have no idea of the market, they keep doing the some job, the same stupid offers and marketing they used decades ago. Even the logo is so disgusting I hope I will never see such **** on a beautiful Apple product. Don't talk about bloatware!
Score: 1 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Top Stories

iPhone Maker Foxconn Says China's 'Days as the World's Factory Are Done'

Wednesday August 12, 2020 7:55 am PDT by
China will no longer be the world's manufacturing epicenter going forward, according to Apple's largest supply chain partner Foxconn, which has been gradually expanding its operations in other countries amid the U.S.-China trade war. "No matter if it's India, Southeast Asia or the Americas, there will be a manufacturing ecosystem in each," said Foxconn chairman Young Liu, according to Bloombe...

Leaker Jon Prosser: Apple Watch and iPad Launching in September, iPhone 12 Event to Take Place in October

Wednesday August 12, 2020 4:31 pm PDT by
Apple last month confirmed that this year's iPhone 12 models will launch outside of their normal September timeframe and will be "available a few weeks later," which has led to speculation about when an event might be held. Leaker Jon Prosser, who sometimes shares accurate knowledge of Apple's plans, today said that Apple will hold its iPhone 12 event during the week of October 12, with...

Apple Takes Legal Action Against Small Company With Pear Logo

Saturday August 8, 2020 11:09 am PDT by
Apple is taking legal action against the developers of the app "Prepear" due to its logo, according to iPhone in Canada. Prepear is an app that helps users discover recipes, plan meals, make lists, and arrange grocery deliveries. The app is a spinoff of "Super Healthy Kids," and the founders claim that they are facing litigation from Apple. Apple reportedly takes issue with Prepear's logo, ...

Apple to Launch Bundled Subscription Services Called 'Apple One'

Thursday August 13, 2020 3:41 am PDT by
Apple will launch a new range of subscription service bundles called "Apple One" as soon as October, according to a new report by Bloomberg's Mark Gurman. The series of bundles would allow customers to subscribe to several Apple digital services together. This is expected to result in a lower monthly price than when the services are subscribed to individually. Bloomberg reports that the...

Apple Releases iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1 With Fix for Storage Issue and Green Tinted Displays

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:31 pm PDT by
Apple today released iOS and iPadOS 13.6.1, minor updates that come a month after the release of the iOS 13.6 update with Car Keys and Audio Apple News+ stories. The iOS and ‌iPadOS‌ 13.6.1 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update. iOS 13.6.1 addresses an issue that could cause...

Apple May Release 4G-Only iPhone 12 in Early 2021

Tuesday August 11, 2020 5:28 am PDT by
In a research note shared by Business Insider, Wedbush Securities analysts said that Apple may release a cheaper iPhone 12 in early 2021 with no 5G connectivity. Wedbush initially believed Apple would launch a mix of 4G and 5G iPhone 12 models this fall. Following re-examination of Asian supply chains, analysts Daniel Ives, Strecker Backe, and Ahmad Khalil revised the predictions,...

Apple Removes Fortnite From App Store [Update: Epic Files Lawsuit Against Apple]

Thursday August 13, 2020 11:58 am PDT by
Just hours after Epic Games introduced a new direct payment option for Fortnite that skirts Apple's in-app purchase rules, Apple has pulled the Fortnite app from the App Store. Fortnite is no longer available for download on the iPhone or the iPad, and Apple provided a statement to MacRumors on Fortnite's removal:Today, Epic Games took the unfortunate step of violating the App Store...

iPad Pro Keyboard Comparison: Logitech's $160 Folio Touch vs. Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard

Tuesday August 11, 2020 2:11 pm PDT by
Logitech recently debuted the Folio Touch, a keyboard and trackpad case designed for the 11-inch iPad Pro that serves as an alternative to the Magic Keyboard. In our latest YouTube video, we compare the $160 Folio Touch to Apple's $300 Magic Keyboard to see which is better. Subscribe to the MacRumors YouTube channel for more videos. Logitech is selling the Folio Touch for $160, while Apple's...

Apple Releases macOS Catalina 10.15.6 Supplemental Update With Virtualization Bug Fix

Wednesday August 12, 2020 1:20 pm PDT by
Apple today released a supplemental update for macOS Catalina 10.15.6, with the update coming a month after the original launch of macOS Catalina 10.15.6. The ‌‌macOS Catalina‌‌ 10.15.6 Supplemental Update can be downloaded from the Mac App Store using the Update feature in the System Preferences app. According to Apple's release notes, the update fixes a problem that could cause...

Kuo: Global iPhone Shipments Could Decline Up to 30% If Apple Forced to Remove WeChat From App Store [Updated x2]

Sunday August 9, 2020 10:17 pm PDT by
In a worst-case scenario, Apple's annual global iPhone shipments could decline by 25–30% if it is forced to remove WeChat from its App Stores around the world, according to a new research note from analyst Ming-Chi Kuo viewed by MacRumors. The removal could occur due to a recent executive order aiming to ban U.S. transactions with WeChat and its parent company Tencent. Kuo lays out...