Friday, September 6, 2013
STOCK FOCUS: DoCoMo iPhone Sales Seen Unlikely To Hurt Rival Stocks
TOKYO (NQN)--Reports that NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437) will soon start selling iPhones are raising questions about how the move will impact the mobile carrier and its two main rivals, KDDI Corp. (9433) and SoftBank Corp. (9984), which already carry the wildly popular device from Apple Inc.
According to Tomoaki Kawasaki, senior analyst at IwaiCosmo Securities Co., even if DoCoMo introduces the iPhone, the impact on the company's earnings will be limited. So far, the company has adopted a strategy of promoting two popular smartphones, one from Sony Corp. (6758) and one from Samsung Electronics Co. of South Korea.
Kawasaki said that to draw existing iPhone users away from KDDI and SoftBank, DoCoMo will have to offer them such incentives as cash-back rewards. But he said the company's current sales strategy to promote the two brands will make it difficult for DoCoMo to give major discounts only for the iPhone.
Kawasaki said fair-competition regulations may also hamper DoCoMo's efforts to sell iPhones, citing a NTT-related law that prohibits the company from offering discounts linked with services provided by other companies under the NTT group.
For example, while KDDI encourages customers using its fiber-optic services to also sign up for its mobile services by offering them discounts, DoCoMo cannot use such a strategy between its different NTT group services, Kawasaki said.
Shares in DoCoMo tend to gain short-term momentum whenever Apple is set to announce a new iPhone model, he said. However, given lingering worries over DoCoMo's ability to attract new subscribers, Kawasaki predicts that investors will shy away from the stock and that the impact of a DoCoMo iPhone on SoftBank and KDDI stock will be limited.
-- Translated from an article by NQN staff writer Hideaki Emura
(Nikkei Quick News, Sept. 6)