Apple Contracts with Carriers Attract Attention of Japanese Regulators

Apple’s contracts with wireless carriers have come to the attention of yet another watchdog: Japanese regulators are considering taking action against the iPhone maker over possible antitrust violations, reports Reuters.

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The Japanese smartphone market is currently dominated by Apple, the iPhone accounting for almost one in two smartphones sold, according to the latest market research data cited by Reuters. Also, Apple will be enabling Apple Pay in the country in late October.

Two government officials speaking with the news agency said the carriers bulk purchase iPhones and sell them at a discount, giving Apple an advantage over rivals such as Samsung. After investigating the matter, Japan’s Fair Trade Commission (FTC) has found that NTT Docomo, KDDI Corp and Softbank Group have been refusing to sell older surplus iPhone models to third-party retailers, hence hurting smaller competitors, which prompted Japanese authorities to consider an investigation of Apple’s supply agreements with all three carriers.

Apple hasn’t commented on the matter but highlighted the number of jobs it has created in Japan and the paycheques Japanese developers have received since the App Store launched on the iPhone.

Japan is yet another market where Apple’s contracts with carriers have entered the spotlight. Canada was among them as well.

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