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

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93 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)
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93 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)
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93 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)
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93 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)
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93 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)
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93 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)

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