NTT Docomo, Japan’s biggest carrier, has refrained from offering the iPhone for years, only to find out – after finally offering the handset starting this September – that it indeed sells well. In fact, iPhone sales accounted for 61% of smartphone sales, Kantar Worldpanel ComTech’s data shows.
Signs that the iPhone is performing well in Japan were pretty visible, as the handset accounted for 37% of all smartphone sales in the country as of September 30, 2013. But as NTT Docomo has signed an agreement with Apple, this percentage has quickly jumped to 76%, an impressive market share, contradicting earlier claims that the Japanese hate the iPhone.
“It is true that iPhone sold well,” said Jun Ootori, a spokesman for NTT Docomo in Tokyo, who declined to comment further because the company doesn’t know details of Kantar’s research.
NTT Docomo had 45.7% of all Japanese mobile subscribers in October, while KDDI had 29%, and Softbank 25.3%.
Japan has emerged as Apple’s fastest-growing region, a Tokyo-based analyst of BNC pointed out earlier this month. According to Bloomberg, NTT Docomo refrained from offering the iPhone to focus on Sony and Samsung handsets, and protect dmarket, its online store.
Japan’s biggest carrier started offering the iPhone for the first time after the launch on the iPhone 5c and iPhone 5s earlier this year.