Japan’s largest wireless carrier NTT DoCoMo said Thursday that customers are leaving their network to sign on with rivals who offer the iPhone. And in South Korea, the iPhone 5 launched on Friday.
Near-ubiquitous Japanese cell provider NTT DoCoMo saw a net loss of 40,800 subscribers over the course of November as former users switched to smaller rivals Softbank Corp. and KDDI Corp., both of which are Apple partner carriers, reports Reuters.
The iPhone 5 was the impetus behind the decline, the first drop in subscriber numbers since 2007, and the biggest drop since being spun off from NTT in 1991.
During the same period, two carriers that do carry the iPhone, Softbank and KDDI, saw gains of 301,900 and 228,800 subscribers, respectively. Softbank recently announced plans to take over U.S. wireless provider Sprint.
Elsewhere, South Korea saw the launch of the iPhone 5. Pre-orders for the device hit 300,000 units, with SK Telecom grabbing 50,000 of the pre-orders, and KT Corporation getting the rest.
While both carriers are offering subsidies for the iPhone 5, KT promised to waive early upgrade fees for those anxious to switch to Apple’s newest handset.