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Japan's NTT DoCoMo sees users jump ship without iPhone

In June we reported that NTT DoCoMo, one of Japan's largest cellular providers, was ambivalent about carrying the iPhone. In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Senior VP Kazuto Tsubouchi told the paper his company was "not necessarily against the idea of selling the iPhone. It just depends on the conditions. What's the procurement cost? What kinds of obligations do we have if we sell the iPhone?"

The stance has left DoCoMo as one of the few carriers in the the country that doesn't offer the iPhone. Today Reuters is reporting the company has seen 3.2 million users leaving the company over the last four and a half years. DoCoMo built its massive user base by offering a number of services like the country's first mobile web service and TV streaming via cellphones.

As these features have become available on a wider range of phones thanks to the rapid evolution of apps, the company has lost customers to other providers who offer the iPhone. According to analysts, their proprietary services are having a hard time competing with services like Instagram. With the iPhone's wild popularity in Japan, reaching a 42 percent share at the end of 2012, the company's refusal to sell the phone is a limitation on their business.

Still, their overall numbers are up in the first six months of the year, with 630,000 new subscribers due to strong sales of other smartphone models. The company appears to be holding out for more favorable conditions with the strict contract Apple requires to sell the phone.

Head over to Reuters for their full coverage.

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