Japanese mobile giant NTT DOCOMO is expected to start selling Apple’s popular iPhone mobile device in the autumn, Reuters reports. According to the article, Japan’s largest mobile carrier had previously resisted offering the handset, due to its failure to reach an agreement with Apple over potential sales margins and branding policies. However, a recent loss in market share to rivals Softbank and KDDI (au), which have offered the iPhone since 2008 and 2011, respectively, has reportedly convinced the cellco to start discussions with Apple. Both NTT DOCOMO and Apple declined to comment on the matter, although the official announcement of the deal is expected to come after 10 September 2013, when Apple will reportedly unveil the latest version of its iPhone handset.
According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, NTT DOCOMO’s share of the Japanese mobile market has decreased by nearly two percentage points year-on-year to 44.8% by end-June 2013, while both Softbank and KDDI (au) increased their stakes to 27.9% and 24.2% of the market over the same period, respectively.