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

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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 in 2008 — has been popular in Japan, forcing carriers like NTT Docomo — which had long resisted the iPhone — to embrace it.

via cnet.com

Brooke Crothers

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