docomo

NTT DoCoMo, Japan’s top wireless carrier with about sixty million subscribers, accounts for more than half of that country’s market for cell phones. Apple products – the iPhone in particular – are tremendously popular with the Japanese so fans will be delighted to learn that NTT will soon open sales for Apple’s new iPad Air.

The confirmation came via a senior DoCoMo executive who said in Tokyo that his company will start carrying the iPad Air “in the not-too-distant future”. I guess you could say the development’s been in the cards ever since Apple announced an iPhone distribution agreement with the carrier in September…

Kyodo News (subscription-required) sat down with NTT DoCoMo’s Senior Executive Vice President Kazuto Tsubouchi, who confirmed his company would start offering the iPad Air to its customers by the end of the current fiscal year through next March.

Shortly after its double-iPhone launch back in September, Apple issued a press release confirming an iPhone partnership with the carrier.

“NTT D0C0M0 has built an impressive network, the largest in the nation with over 60 million customers,” Apple CEO Tim Cook was quoted as saying. “We’ve enjoyed tremendous success with iPhone in Japan, in fact it’s the top selling smartphone in the country, and we look forward to delivering iPhone into even more customers’ hands through NTT DoCoMo”.

Gold iPhone 5s front

The iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c went off to a great start in Japan.

Fans in Tokyo actually braved the typhoon as they stood in line for the new iPhones. Due to availability issues and low stock of new iPhone devices, NTT registered a drop of 66,800 subscribers during September whereas rivals KDDI and SoftBank (both iPhone carriers) saw net subscriber additions.

apple-japan-typhoon-iphone

Kantar Worldpanel survey gives Apple a slight lead over Android in Japan.

Apple’s iPhone smartphone share in Japan is bigger than it is in the United States, breaking sales records in one of the most competitive tech markets on the planet. As per Counterpoint Research data, in October the iPhone held a commanding 34 percent share of Japan’s market for smartphones.

IT Media quoted a survey by BCN, a point-of-purchase research firm, which found the new iPhones ruling the sales among all cell phones in Japan last week. Apple’s device accounted for fourteen of the top twenty in cell phone sales, thanks in large part to NTT DoCoMo joining the country’s iPhone retail market.

Between November 4-10, NTT’s 32GB iPhone 5S ranked first, followed by SoftBank’s 16GB iPhone 5C and 64GB iPhone 5s, the study found.

The iPhone 5S used to be really short in stock in Japan but now that Apple is finally catching up to iPhone 5s demand in the United States, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo, Softbank and KDDI have all reduced the waiting period for the flagship Apple handset to around seven business days, for all three colors and capacities.

Compared this to the end of October, when NTT, KKDI and Softbank used to cite ship times for the gold iPhone 5s variant of a whopping 28 days, and 14 days for the silver and space grey models.

By the way, I get this question a lot so here it is: NTT DoCoMo is an abbreviation of the phrase ‘DO COmmunications over the MObile network’. Also, a compound word dokomo in Japanese means ‘everywhere’.