Business

Docomo set to begin selling iPad next month

by Kazuaki Nagata

Staff Writer

NTT Docomo Inc. said Wednesday it will start selling Apple’s popular iPad starting in June.

Docomo, which has the largest share of subscriptions in the domestic market, is the last major carrier to become an iPad provider in Japan, as KDDI Corp. and SoftBank Corp. already offer them.

According to MM Research Institute, Apple has a 43.8 percent share of the Japanese market and Docomo, which also sells tablets powered by Google’s Android, apparently decided it needs the iPad to keep up with its rivals.

“As we were receiving requests from our customers that they wanted to use iPads with Docomo’s networks, we’ve been considering (whether to provide iPads),” said Yoshifumi Kuroda, a Docomo spokesman. “We are now ready to do so.”

Docomo will also drastically change its monthly price plans, with fixed rates for unlimited voice calls and plans that allow family members to share mobile data, so the carrier may want the iPads to boost the appeal of its new plans.

Docomo said it will start selling the iPad Air, a 478-gram, 9.7-inch tablet computer, and the iPad mini with Retina display, which has a 7.9-inch screen and weighs 341 gram, beginning June 10.

Both models will be able to connect to Docomo’s mobile networks, including LTE, which can enable downloads of up to 100 MB per second.

The prices for the iPad Air range from ¥68,040 to ¥98,280 depending on the size of internal memories, at 16 GB, 32 GB, 64 GB or 128 GB. The prices for the iPad mini range from ¥55,080 to ¥89,640.

With a two-year contract subscribers will receive a monthly discount, Docomo said.

The company was also the last to begin selling the iPhone, since it was particular about providing its own services, such as music, movies and online shopping, in its handsets rather than with iPhones, whose ecosystem is strictly controlled by Apple.

But it decided to start selling the iPhone last September after losing subscribers to other iPhone providers.

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