Remember the days of carriers acting like teenagers at a Justin Bieber concert when it came to the iPhone? That all-out adoration of Apple’s flagship device is waning – especially in Japan. The country’s largest wireless provider sees no hurry in offering the iPhone as Android alternatives grow in popularity.

In a Wall Street Journal interview today, a senior executive vice-president at NTT DoCoMo says things have changed. The question isn’t how many customers the iPhone would attract, but how many customer would leave if the Apple device isn’t sold…

“There will always be some customers who switch to the iPhone, but things have changed from the time in the past when the iPhone looked like the god of all smartphones,” Katzuto Tsubouhi todl The Wall Street Journal.


Of course, there’s another facet to it.

The problem with selling the iPhone is that Apple maintains tight control of the smartphone’s Home screen, blocking carrier’s from dumping their apps and links on the tidy screen.

Add the fact DoCoMo uses services based on Android, “so we have to give up on them,” the executive explained.

iPhone 5 (two-up, white, front, back, left-angled)

Although NTT DoCoMo has more than 60 million customers, it would not be averse to adding more by offering the iPhone. Indeed, the company lost more than 40,000 customers in November because it did not have the iconic smartphone in its roster.

“I don’t think it is indispensable for us to sell the iPhone,” Tsubouhi said. “Android phones have become more competitive” since 2012, he added.

DoCoMo does offer a number of high-end Android phones.

The power of having the huge carrier behind a brand was evident when the firm promoted Samsung and Sony handsets recently. The result: Sony phones flew to No. 1 while Apple saw its smartphone market share in Japan fall.

There is a decided tone that the carrier feels it can thrive without Apple in its corner.

Listen to this comment by the DoCoMo VP:

The question we need to ask is how many customers will continue to leave DoCoMo from now on because we don’t have the iPhone.

The casual attitude toward selling iPhones in Japan comes as the nation loses its spot as the third-largest smartphone market. India, who’s consumers are quickly adopting inexpensive smartphones, is the face of the future.

  • Boss

    Apple need more than 1 iPhone and I’m not talking about a “Budget” iPhone something more along of the lines like the MacBook Air / Pro

    • why does everyone always think variety is the answer? look at how relatively poorly the S4 is currently doing since they announced all of the variations

      • Boss

        Maybe people want a bigger screen with better battery while others might want to keep the 4 inch?

    • Chindavon

      The ‘Budget’ is the Air to the Pro. Except it’s really not a ‘budget’ and not as cheap as previously thought.

      • Boss

        I don’t how the Air is budget when the Air and Pro cost the same

      • Chindavon

        Not the same price. Plus specs are a little different. Older MBP is about $100 more (128GB air to the i5 MBP). But if you’re getting one with Retina, then its about $300 more. My guess is the so called “budget iPhone may be $100 less at full price?

    • MarcPhilippeB

      Above all they need to start to speed up their updates cycles. 2 years is just too long if you want to compete against Google, Samsung and HTC.

      • Riley Freeman

        I don’t understand the “they need to compete with ____”. Last I checked they were generating more than half the mobile profits in the industry. The fact remains, the android guys are still playing catch up. All they have going for them is big screens and cheap phones.

        What do you think will happen if and when apple releases a larger iPhone? Doesn’t bode to well for android if you ask me. Like that Samsung executive said “apple builds an ecosystem” android just spits out phones on a weekly basis.

    • disqus_GdtjDjsrP0

      They don’t need to make a budget iPhone. It seems like people always look over the fact that they offer discounts on their previous phones once the new ones are released. You can get an iPhone 4S on contract right now for $99, and an iPhone 4 for free.

  • M Last

    but I don’t think like that :)))

  • Patrick

    silly chinese, the iphone is on top and forever will be, wonder how much samsung paid them to say this

    • Mohammed Sahib

      Ehm, Japanese, not Chinese..

    • BearManPig

      silly iSheep.
      Of course iphones are great smartphones, i myself have a 4S, but now times there are a lot of smartphones as capable or more capable than the iphone.

    • Franklin Richards

      Nothing is forever. Apple hasn’t really impressed the world with iPhones lately and tbh neither has Samsung. The S4 was hardly a big step up from the S3 and the recent release of different types of S4s is just a sign of inability to innovate.
      Our only hope (as Apple fans) is that Apple the once Kings of innovation can smack everyone back into place with the next iPhone. Else iPhone supporters will decline.

    • n0ahcruz3


    • @dongiuj


  • tskwierc

    Interesting post I do think the latest Xperia from Sony with water resistance and sharp looking screens are some of the most attractive looking phones. But I’m very invested in Apple products and practicality keeps take precedence.

  • Necter

    For Apple to outrace and outsmart current demands and competitions, they need to forego trivial cosmetics and think actual software and hardware redesign. I hate S4 etc. It’s a set back in time in terms of size. Apple does not need to emulate such stupid demands. They need to think in terms of battery— a self-generating power in the internals of a new iphone will truly be a break thro in phone tech, for eg. An iphone with true holographic features will get all consumers salivating like docile happy canines. An iphone w/ 100% gestures is a big start in d right direction. An iphone that is reduced to a wristwatch w/ optional sizes, and a nano ear plug with holographic and voice command keyboard will get even my late grand dad waking up and purchasing several for himself and his entire family and friends. So indeed, it will take thinkers and doers. It will take circumventing current technocracy and imprisonment of technology to meet these challenges. If not, good bye to Apple as they will be relegated to one of those companies in history that peeked but never jumped.

    • Raul Henriquez


    • Kurt

      You fail to realize not everyone thinks like you do. You’re not stating fact by any means. Which is why Apple and Samsung are doing so well. Apple made iOS 7 which is beautiful. The apps are ugly as sin (except Yahoo’s design which is why they should copy their style or hire Yahoo to make their apps). But iOS 7 as a whole is beautiful and elegant. They just need to redesign the iPhone. It’s so outdated looking. But it’s ok as I won’t buy one. I need that larger screen that you claim is a ‘stupid demand’

      • Necter

        If you need a larger screen, no need buying an iphone. Dont. Get a 20″ flat screen tv w/ push to talk feature. Or to be kind, a tablet. They have big screens. Big screen phones that is a handheld bar or flip is obselete. Phones ought to be shrinking into a mind tech not expanding in size like a mole in the gut.

      • Kurt

        What’s a mind tech? I’m not getting chipped.

  • Jerry

    Great example of not knowing anything about quality.

    • Dominik Odobašić

      Exceptional design does not entail great quality. Please stop mixing up the two.

      • Jerry

        So your saying the knock off phones that they use are quality?

      • Dominik Odobašić

        I’m seriously starting to question people’s intelligence on this blog. For the millionth time now, simply because I said A, does not mean I said a thing about B, C, or D.
        Quality depends on many things, but design is not one of them.

      • Jerry

        Tell me when I’ve mentioned anything about the design of a phone?

      • Dominik Odobašić

        You implied it in your last comment.

  • Gorgonphone


  • Kiyashi Shizoku

    See those 40,000 customers they lost when they didn’t offer the iphone? I am one of them. Was on NTT for a long time, but this is a huge disappointment. SoftBank now for my iphone 5 🙂