Желание владеть "лучшим телефоном всех времен и народов" сподвигла многих абонентов самого крупного мобильного оператора Японии NTT Docomo переметнуться в стан врага. Народ ушли к Softbank и AU KDDI, которые уже несколько сезонов подряд предлагают новинки от Apple. Ситуацию с нежеланием или невозможностью предложить iPhone своим абонентам постарался разъяснить в недавнем интервью журналисту одного из западных изданий ("The Wall Street Journal") старший исполнительный вице-президент NTT Docomo, господин Казуто Цубоичи (Kazuto Tsubouchi). Оригинал можно найти здесь. В конце я приведу полный текст интервью на английском.
WSJ: What has prevented DoCoMo from selling the iPhone?
Mr. Tsubouchi: We are 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?
Let’s say hypothetically that we start selling the iPhone. There will be things we gain and things we lose. We really have to weigh those pros and cons.
What we gain would be a boost to our marketing. Having such an attractive item in our lineup would help.
However, you also have to ask: What are the conditions that come with the iPhone? Other Japanese carriers are selling iPhones at very low prices, and that means their sales expenses must be very high.
Also, some of DoCoMo’s own services that we provide on Android phones won’t work on the iPhone, which doesn’t leave room for much customization, so we have to give up on them.
I think the iPhone with its own OS is like DisneyLand. There are many people who love DisneyLand, and you can be perfectly happy inside that world. But some people might also want Snoopy or Spiderman, and those are not allowed in DisneyLand. You can’t sell Snoopy goods inside DisneyLand.
WSJ: Is it necessary for DoCoMo to carry the iPhone?
Mr Tsubouchi: The iPhone is surely an attractive product to have in any handset lineup. Some of our customers want the iPhone and are asking when we will start carrying it. We do take that into consideration.
But at the same time, it’s not that DoCoMo won’t be able to survive without the iPhone. I don’t think it is indispensable for us to sell the iPhone.
What has changed since last year is that Android phones have become more competitive. Android models are no longer trailing the iPhone in terms of hardware.
WSJ: What’s DoCoMo’s strategy for selling Android handsets?
Mr Tsubouchi: We used to treat all the handsets in our lineup equally and promote all of them, thinking that some of them may turn out to be major hits. But we’ve come to realize that we need to be more focused if we were to compete against the iPhone being offered by rival carriers.
Today, the iPhone may not necessarily offer the best technological specifications in every aspect, but it’s a very well-balanced smartphone.
And recently, there are some Android phones that are also well-balanced. We are focusing on those models.
So far, I think the strategy is working. In terms of product quality, the two Android models we are currently pushing are just as good as the iPhone.
WSJ: Will DoCoMo sell the iPhone?
Mr Tsubouchi: The question we need to ask is how many customers will continue to leave DoCoMo from now on because we don’t have the iPhone. There will always be some customers who switch to the iPhone, but things have changed from the time in the past when the iPhone looked like the god of all smartphones.
Another question is whether DoCoMo, by offering the iPhone, can steal back customers from other carriers that have stolen DoCoMo’s customers earlier. And that would depend on whether we can convince current iPhone users that using iPhones on DoCoMo’s network is better than using them on other carriers’ networks.
When Verizon started selling the iPhone in the U.S., for example, some iPhone users switched from AT&T, because they thought Verizon had a better network.