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.

About the author

Brooke Crothers writes about mobile computer systems, including laptops, tablets, smartphones: how they define the computing experience and the hardware that makes them tick. He has served as an editor at large at CNET News and a contributing reporter to The New York Times' Bits and Technology sections. His interest in things small began when living in Tokyo in a very small apartment for a very long time.

 

Join the discussion

Conversation powered by Livefyre

Don't Miss
Hot Products
Trending on CNET

HOT ON CNET

Love heavy and clunky tablets?

Said no one ever. CNET brings you the lightest and thinnest tablets on the market.