A representative of Japan’s largest wireless carrier, DoCoMo refused to speculate on when his company might start offering Apple’s popular iPhone to its customers, saying only that the device is no longer “the god of all smartphones.”
“The question we need to ask is how many customers will continue to leave DoCoMo from now on because we don’t have the iPhone,” said Kazuto Tsubouhi, NTT DoCoMo’s Senior Executive Vice President in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. “There will always be some customers who switch to the iPhone, but things have changed from the time in the past when the iPhone looked like the god of all smartphones.”
Tsubouchi admitted that the carrier isn’t opposed to offering Apple’s device, which has enticed customers away to other carriers, saying it would likely prove a boost to DoCoMo’s marketing efforts.
Among the carriers concerns about the iPhone is Apple’s rules against allowing carriers to load its phones up with preinstalled software, as is usually seen on Android and other phone platforms.
“Also, some of DoCoMo’s own services that we provide on Android phones won’t work on the iPhone,” Tsubouchi continued, “which doesn’t leave room for much customization, so we have to give up on them.”
Tsubouchi did say that customers were inquiring as to when the carrier would offer the iPhone, but took the stance that improvements in other handsets outweighed the need for Apple’s device.
“[I]t’s not that DoCoMo won’t be able to survive without the iPhone. I don’t think it is indispensable for us to sell the iPhone,” he said. “What has changed since last year is that Android phones have become more competitive.”
DoCoMo admitted last year that the lack of the iPhone cost the carrier 40,800 subscribers in the month of November.