updated 10:34 am EDT, Fri July 5, 2013
Carrier wants integrated services pre-installed
Efforts at building a "lifestyle system" are why NTT DoCoMo has yet to pick up the iPhone, CEO Kaoru Kato tells Reuters The carrier normally has apps pre-installed on its phones in order to support integrated services, but Apple has always blocked carriers from making any modifications to iOS. NTT also wants its logo on devices, another thing Apple has refused to allow.
The situation could come to a head for NTT in the near future. The company is the only major carrier in Japan without the iPhone, and is losing subscribers to rivals Softbank and KDDI. The iPhone is also extremely popular in the country, having accounted for 42 percent of Japanese smartphone sales during the December quarter last year. Some NTT executives are said to be pushing for a deal with Apple, despite official positions.
An anonymous executive at one of NTT's rivals suggests that the carrier may be playing the long game in order to get better terms from Apple. At some point Softbank and KDDI will become relatively saturated in terms of iPhone sales, forcing Apple to turn to NTT for continued growth in Japan. Although Apple is still unlikely to allow logos or pre-installed apps, it may be willing to offer better business terms.