NTT DoCoMo to sell iPhone in Apple stronghold Japan
TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's biggest mobile carrier NTT DoCoMo is expected to start selling iPhones as soon as autumn, helping Apple extend its reach in a country where it has more than three times the market share of rival Samsung Electronics.
DoCoMo has long resisted offering the iPhone to its 60 million customers due to differences with Apple over branding and sales margins, but it has lost market share to smaller rivals Softbank and KDDI, which have been selling Japan's best-selling smartphone since 2008 and 2011, respectively.
DoCoMo is expected to begin selling the iPhone as early as this autumn, people familiar with the matter told Reuters. The sources, who declined to be named due to the confidentiality of the discussions, did not detail the conditions of the agreement.
Other sources have said sticking points between the two companies were DoCoMo's requirement that its logo be imprinted on all the phones it sells, while Apple insists its products are sold unaltered. Market watchers have also speculated that the US tech giant demands that iPhone sales make up more than 50 per cent of a carrier's total handset sales, while DoCoMo has said it is only willing to go up to 20 per cent to 30 per cent.