Monday, September 16, 2013

NTT Docomo stirs up the Japanese iPhone market

After years of negotiations, the largest mobile operator in Japan, NTT Docomo, finally has agreed to sell Apple iPhones. This definitely stirs up the Japanese market and currently there is a full-scale war between the Japanese mobile operators trying to attract customers.

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NTT Docomo is the largest Japanese mobile operator and for many years has also been the only Japanese mobile operator who has refused to sell Apple iPhones. Recently, NTT Docomo and Apple has finally reached an agreement around iPhone sales and with 61 million subscribers, NTT Docomo is certainly an important sales channel for Apple in Japan. NTT Docomo has also predicted that 40% of its future sales will originate from Apple iPhones. For the rest of the Japanese operators, for example, KDDI and Softbank, who have up until now been able to steal customers from NTT Docomo by the masses, their situation certainly has overnight become a whole lot tougher.

The stir-up in the Japanese market has resulted in what many analysts describe as a full scale operator war. For example, as of today, all operators offer the 16 GB iPhone 5S model free of charge following a 2-year contract and NTT Docomo even offers bonuses for customers who turn in their old phones from any competitors. 

With NTT Docomo having refused the Apple iPhone for so long, there is certainly a huge piled up demand from its subscribers and the full scale operator war was certainly not unexpected. For the Japenese customers, the situation could not have been more favorable and it will be highly interesting to see how the Japanese market will develop in the coming year.

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