updated 01:05 pm EST, Tue November 15, 2011
Japanese carrier still in talks with Apple
Japan's largest cellphone carrier, NTT DoCoMo, has not "given up" hope of selling the iPhone, according to CEO Ryuji Yamada. Yamada explains that Apple and DoCoMo are still in talks, but that there are several concerns, such as Apple's insistence on high volume commitments. The CEO also worries about the risk of the iPhone becoming a "mass majority" of DoCoMo products, and the closed nature of iOS blocking the carrier from pre-installing otherwise commonplace DoCoMo apps, such as its e-wallet system or custom i-mode email.
DoCoMo is conspicuous in the Japanese market as the only major carrier without the iPhone. Softbank has had the device for years, and with the iPhone 4S, KDDI has entered the picture. Compounding the situation is that DoCoMo been on a financial decline in recent months; during the September quarter it saw net profits slip, largely because of voice revenue, even as KDDI and Softbank grew.
DoCoMo is currently said to be banking its smartphone lineup on the Sony Ericsson Xperia series as well as Samsung Galaxy S. Yamada remarks that Android-based phones represented about 70 to 80 percent of the Japanese smartphone market in July, dwarfing the iPhone's 20 to 30 percent.