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Summary:

In December, Docomo saw the customary boost in subscribers from debuting the iPhone. It surpassed its Japanese rivals SoftBank and KDDI in customer additions for the first time in two years. Next up: China Mobile.

If you’re a carrier, there’s nothing quite like that first quarter after you land the iPhone for the first time. Ask Verizon, Sprint and T-Mobile, which all saw big activation gains after debuting the smartphone. Now it’s NTT Docomo’s turn.

According to Businessweek, Japan’s largest carrier added 279,000 new subscribers in December, marking the first time in two years that Docomo has surpassed rivals Softbank and KDDI in customer growth. A little more than two years ago, KDDI landed the iPhone 4S. Together with SoftBank, which has been selling the iPhone since 2008, KDDI has been using the Apple’s iconic smartphone to chip away at Docomo’s formidable market share.

But last fall Apple revealed new versions of the iPhone 5s and 5c that would work on Docomo’s 3G and 4G networks. Though Docomo didn’t break out how many iPhones it has sold since, a company spokesman confirmed to Bloomberg the device was the main growth driver last month.

With 62 million subscribers, Docomo was one of the last of the major global carriers to get the iPhone, but not the last. Next week the biggest carrier whale of them all China Mobile will begin selling the 5s and 5c to its 760 million subscribers.

Photo courtesy of Shutterstock user Tupungato

  1. Wow, another partnership made in heaven by Apple. I hope not more funds to bully other smartphone companies.

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  2. Laughing_Boy48 Friday, January 10, 2014

    What’s really funny is that the analysts are saying that Docomo will be able to sell more iPhones out of those 62 million subscribers than China Mobile will be able to sell iPhones with their 760 million subscribers. How sad. It appears Wall Street has given Apple the Kiss of Death.

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  3. Sprint’s iPhone gamble still isn’t paying off as it loses 360,000 customers in Q3 2013

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