NTT DoCoMo loses 40K subscribers to iPhone 5

The Japan-based carrier is now paying the price for not carrying the iPhone, according to a report.

Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has snubbed the iPhone to date.  But that may not be an option anymore.
Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has snubbed the iPhone to date. But that may not be an option anymore. Apple

NTT DoCoMo lost 40,800 subscribers in November, acknowledging that it's due to customer flight to the iPhone 5, according to Japan's Nikkei business daily.

For Japan's largest mobile-phone carrier, it was the first monthly drop in over five years.

NTT DoCoMo made no bones about blaming its shrinking subscriber base on customers opting for the iPhone 5 at rival carriers.

The company does not offer the iPhone, while rivals Softbank and KDDI do. Both of those carriers posted subscriber gains in November, with KDDI showing net gains of 228,800 customers and Softbank adding 301,900, Nikkei said.

And that's becoming a serious problem for NTT DoCoMo. The iPhone 5 has become the most popular mobile phone in Japan based on monthly sales rankings.

Though the company has avoided the iPhone to date, that may change next year. A NTT DoCoMo company executive said that it has no choice but to cut a deal with Apple, according to Nikkei.

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.


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