Monday, May 21, 2012

NTT Docomo is unlikely to ever offer the iPhone.

The Nikkei has an article up (behind a registration wall) concerning the reasons why there will never be a Docomo-branded iPhone.

Rumors rumors and more rumors


Back in December NTT Docomo (DCM) denied that it would offer the iPad and iPhone from summer and fall, respectively. The summer line up has been announced, and there is no iPad. Next we had the possibility of a new CEO at Docomo and an LTE iPhone, for which DCM would be perfectly positioned to peddle. However, Yamada hasn't left and after winning the 900 MHz allocation, Softbank has an opportunity to built out an FDD-LTE network.

So basically all the rumor and speculation was just that.

One sided Negotiation


DCM characterizes negotiations with Apple as "one sided." This issue goes beyond the branding and bloat with which DCM would presumably defile any iDevice. Simply, DCM is unwilling to commit to push the iPhone as its primary device, which is a deal-breaker as far as Apple is concerned.
If we were told to push the iPhone to account for over half of our handset sales, it wouldn't fit our primary strategy.
DCM CEO Yamada Ryuji at a 4/27 press conference.

Apple would also demand that flat-rate data pricing be less than that of it's Android handsets. DCM feels it would be difficult to vary service price plans based on handset type.

B-Mobile or Xi Contracts for unlocked iPhones


If you just have to have an iPhone with DCM, you can get one of any number of b-mobile SIMs. If you need to have (due to family calling discounts) a Docomo contract, or if you call many Docomo subscribers, then there is the option of an Xi contract with an unlocked iPhone, which is what I do with my android handset.

7 comments:

  1. "DCM feels it would be difficult to vary service price plans based on handset type."

    This is the same DCM that wants to charge me out the wazoo for using data on a handset that they didn't provide. Awesome.

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  2. > Simply, DCM is unwilling to commit to push the iPhone as its primary device, which is a deal-breaker as far as Apple is concerned.
    >> If we were told to push the iPhone to account for over half of our handset sales, it wouldn't fit our primary strategy.

    I would really hate it if DCM were to push the iPhone as its primary devices.
    All the other manufacturers would suffer needlessly.
    (and us, as consumers, would get less choice which would lead to stagnation in the market)

    It reminds of when the HTC Desire was launched on Softbank but it got buried and seemingly "screwed over" but iPhone marketing pushes.
    Even sales staff would say not to get it but to get the iPhone instead (for seemingly marketing reasons). Fast forward a smartphone season and HTC could barely make a splash in the market.

    While I'm not saying this is the only reason for HTC failing in this market, I believe it's a big one.

    In the end, I believe smartphone makers NEED carrier "love". (not just one maker demanding that you bow down before it and prostrate)

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  3. I recall there were people complaining about the lack-luster marketing and support for the Desire. And also that the data plan was more expensive than the iPhone's. Now we know why.

    I didn't make a mention of it, but there were also rumors of DCM fielding very angry calls from domestic handset makers and being called essentially two-faced, backstabbing, double-dealing ("二枚舌") regarding their interest in the iPhone.

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  4. Wow, Apple engaged in anti-competitive practices. I'm shocked I tell you. Shocked.

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  5. Didn't Microsoft get in trouble for this kind of stuff in the 90's?

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  6. Perceptual ChaosMay 23, 2012 at 7:12 PM

    also Intel vs AMD in 2005

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  7. The Japanese Fair Trade Commission has cracked down on anti-competitive retailing tactics. I don't know if this would fit in what they prosecute, but the cat has been let out of the bag, for sure.

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