NTT DoCoMo, the largest wireless operator in Japan with over 60 million subscribers, doesn’t carry that iPhone. Both the second largest and third largest operators (each with roughly 30 million subscribers) do, so it says a lot that a player twice as large refuses to play ball.
But why is that?
According to Senior Executive Vice President Kazuto Tsubouchi, who spoke to The Wall Street Journal recently, the answer is simple. Apple wants operators to make far too many concessions. And the OS is locked down, almost “like DisneyLand”, which makes it hard for DoCoMo to make money off their services.
What about Android? Tsubouchi says that the company has learned from the mistake of offering a huge amount of variety, and instead they’re going to focus on just two models. In this case, it’s the GS4 from Samsung and the the Xperia A from Sony.
Will DoCoMo ever change their mind? The answer here is tricky. Tsubouchi brings up a great point. Say DoCoMo does start carrying the iPhone, will the customers who left the network come back? If not, then what’s the point?