Apple in Talks with NTT DoCoMo

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Apple is talking with Japan’s mobile phone carrier NTT DoCoMo to launch the iPhone in Japan. According to a report published yesterday, Apple’s share of subscriber revenue is a point of contention between the two companies.

NTT DoCoMo spokesman Shuichiro Ichikoshi said company President Masao Nakamura met recently with Apple Chief Executive Steve Jobs. Shuichiro declined to comment further.

Apple plans to launch the iPhone in other Asian markets in 2008. Last month China Mobile, China’s biggest service provider with over 350 million subscribers, revealed it was negotiating with Apple to bring the iPhone to China.

NTT DoCoMo has nearly 53 million subscribers and controls over half of the mobile phone market in Japan. But in recent months price slicing competition from KDDI and Softbank has made it difficult for NTT DoCoMo to add new subscribers.

Apple is sticking to its policy of restricting the iPhone to one service provider in each country the device is launched. There have been legal attempts to break the exclusivity of the iPhone but courts have upheld Apple’s right to restrict the iPhone to one carrier. To date the iPhone is available on: AT&T Inc. in the United States, O2 in Britain, T-Mobile in Germany and France Telecom's Orange wireless arm in France.