Japanese carrier DoCoMo to start carrying the iPhone this fall


After years of negotiations, it looks like Apple and DoCoMo have finally reached an iPhone deal. Reuters is reporting this afternoon that the company will join KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp this fall as the last major Japanese carrier to offer the popular smartphone.

The news comes just a few weeks after Bloomberg ran a report claiming that DoCoMo was ready to consider carrying the iPhone, as long as Apple was willing to concede to a few demands, such as allowing it to preload custom apps. So the question is, who gave in?

Reuters reports:

“Japan’s NTT DoCoMo Inc is expected to offer Apple Inc’s iPhone as early as autumn, catching up with rivals KDDI Corp and SoftBank Corp, the Nikkei said.

DoCoMo’s marketing partnership with Apple is likely to be announced the same day, the Nikkei said, without quoting any sources.”

Here’s the Nikkei report the outlet is referring to. Nikkei is a well respected Japanese newspaper that specializes in publishing financial, business and industry news. And it says it’s learned that Apple and DoCoMo have agreed to terms and conditions for a partnership.

That allegedly includes the aforementioned preloaded carrier apps that DoCoMo installs on all of its handsets, as well as Apple’s strict sales quotas, which the carrier has long protested. So it’ll be interesting to see, when the handset launches, who gave up what in the deal.

DoCoMo has been very vocal about its ongoing talks with Apple regarding the handset. Despite the fact that it has blamed a large part of the some 3+ million customers it’s lost over the past 5 years on the iPhone, it has said that it is no longer the king of smartphones.

Apple is expected to unveil two new iPhones next Tuesday: both an iPhone 5S and an all-new iPhone 5C. And, as Nikkei previously reported, both handsets are presumed to go on sale in Japan (as well as the US and other countries) the following Friday, September 20.