Japan makers reel as Docomo begins big shift to iPhone

Japanese mobile phone suppliers are in trouble as the iPhone becomes NTT DoCoMo's biggest single product, Nikkei reports.

Apple

NTT DoCoMo has told Japan's handset makers that iPhones will take about 40 percent of all new contracts, dealing a big blow to domestic phone suppliers, Nikkei reported Thursday.

The 40 percent figure is believed to be the quota that Apple and DoCoMo agreed on, the report said.

DoCoMo, Japan's largest carrier, will carry both the iPhone 5S and 5C. And may also carry the iPad, according to Nikkei.

This development marks a tectonic shift in DoCoMo's strategy and the Japanese phone market in general. Domestic phone suppliers like Sharp and Fujitsu are expected to suffer as a result.

And the numbers aren't pretty. DoCoMo sells about 23.5 million mobile phones a year. If Apple takes 40 percent of that number, Apple would dominate the Japanese market, Nikkei said.

KDDI (au) and SoftBank already offer the iPhone in Japan.

Until Tuesday's iPhone 5S and 5C announcement, DoCoMo had resisted offering the iPhone. Most recently in its summer campaign, DoCoMo favored Sony and Samsung.

Phone vendors Panasonic and NEC, which Docomo did business with in the past -- and indeed supported -- have both announced they are exiting the consumer smartphone business.

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