Japan’s largest mobile phone operator has no plans to sell the iPhone or other Apple Inc. devices, according to the president of its parent company.
Hiroo Unoura, president of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., told The Asahi Shimbun on June 27 that adopting Apple products could threaten its commercial independence.
“For now, we will do our utmost (on our own), without depending on Apple,” Unoura said.
Softbank Mobile Corp. and KDDI Corp., which both offer iPhones, have grabbed significant slices of the smartphone market from NTT’s subsidiary NTT DoCoMo Inc. Some in the industry have been calling for DoCoMo, which still has roughly half of Japan’s mobile subscribers, to meet the challenge by becoming an iPhone sales agent itself.
But Unoura said: “We cannot become subordinate (to Apple) as we try to develop new Internet services.”
The NTT group has identified cloud computing services as a key growth area and sees the restriction of the iPhone and other Apple devices to Apple’s dedicated online services as a potential threat to its development capability in that area.
“You never know how the environment will change over the coming five years,” Unoura said.
In recent years, the company has seen a fall in use of telephone voice services, once its mainstay, and a slowing of the spread of optical fiber networks.
Unoura said cloud services, which offer storage and processing over the Internet, are a key growth area, mainly outside Japan.
“With little prospect of growth in the domestic market, we will focus on research and development and investments in other firms, with a view to foreign markets,” he said.
As NTT group vice president, Unoura had responsibility for education services and content distribution based on interactive communications.
He said NTT will strengthen research and development overseas and pursue tie-ups with venture firms involved in social networking services, mainly in North America.
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