Saturday, February 1, 2014

How are new iPhones faring in Japan? NTT Docomo offers clues

iPhone 5S.
iPhone 5S
(Credit: NTT Docomo)
NTT Docomo provided some visibility into iPhone sales in Japan, when that country's largest carrier reported earnings on Friday. Most of the news -- but not all of it -- was good.
First, the bad news. Docomo, which began offering the iPhone for the first time in the fall of last year, said group operating profit fell 2 percent in the April-December period and sales were slightly off, according to a Nikkei report.
The addition of the Apple phone also increased Docomo's "discount costs," according to Nikkei.
The Good news: So-called "customer outflows" (to rival carriers, for example) dropped from 130,000 in September to 50,000 in December, the company said.
Also in December, the carrier saw a net increase of 279,000 subscribers, beating rivals KDDI and SoftBank -- the first time in two years that's happened.
And KDDI, which also reported earnings this week, said iPhone sales are up. Softbank has yet to report earnings.
The iPhone -- thanks in part to Softbank, which began carrying the phone years ago -- has been popular in Japan, forcing carriers like NTT Docomo -- which had long resisted the iPhone -- to embrace it.

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