Japan’s Top Carrier Is Dropping Apple Hints

JapanIs this major Japanese wireless carrier on the verge of closing a deal with Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL)? In an interview conducted by Japanese business newspaper SankeiBiz,  NTT DoCoMo (NYSE:DCM) CFO Kazuto Tsubouchi admitted that that not having a deal with Apple “doesn’t make business sense,” reports Bloomberg. DoCoMo is the country’s largest carrier with over 60 million subscribers, but it still does not offer the iPhone.

Despite this admission, Tsubouchi stated that, “The situation has not changed.” He also noted that it would be difficult for the carrier to be ready to carry the new iPhone in time for its expected September 10 debut.

Although his comments were noncommittal, SoftBank and KDDI — Japan’s two other major mobile carriers — fell in Tokyo trading after details of the interview emerged. In the interview, Tsubouchi stated that a deal with Apple has yet to be reached due to “a matter of conditions.”

According to Bloomberg, Tsubouchi has previously indicated that DoCoMo may offer Apple’s flagship smartphone if it can limit the device’s sales to less than 30 percent of the company’s overall handset sales. According to a rumor reported by Reuters last month, Apple was demanding that its iPhones make up at least half of the carrier’s handset sales.

Although DoCoMo has a 45 percent share of the Japanese market, it is adding users at a lower rate than rivals SoftBank and KDDI. Despite the lack of support from DoCoMo, the iPhone secured a 42 percent share of the Japanese smartphone market in the last three months of 2012, according to Reuters.

Apple’s Japanese market share may soon get a boost from the new iPhone models. According to a recent rumor reported by Nikkei via CNET, the iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will be launched in Japan on September 20, ten days after the devices are expected to be unveiled in the U.S. on September 10.

Here’s how Apple has traded over the past week.

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