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Takashi Amano reports for Bloomberg:

“The causes of cancellation for DoCoMo’s phones has been the lack of iPhone and this would prevent customers from moving,” said Yusuke Tsunoda, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Securities Co. in Tokyo. “As all three will have the iPhone, they will compete on price, sales method and network.”

The network competition will be an interesting one. None of the carriers have a similar LTE roll-out strategy and have been using a set of different bands, depending on what they got allocated.

DoCoMo has a strong 2100 MHz LTE roll-out and is perceived as having a very strong network, a plus.

au/KDDI was famously caught in a quagmire after they misrepresented their actual iPhone LTE coverage—the 2100 MHz band1, but the new iPhone model will also use the 800 MHz band, a strength for the carrier. KDDI possibly has the overall advantage for the iPhone LTE coverage now .

SoftBank has a more complex situation. It decided last year to use its 900 MHz band to extend its 3G to battle its bad network reputation2. This decision might now play against it, since it can’t now use it for LTE—although this could happen in 20143. On the other hand, the roll-out on the 2100 MHz band is going well. I don’t want to read too much into this but SoftBank’s CEO was a no-show at Apple’s keynote. Sign of frailty?

  1. Nikkei, in Japanese, paywalled 

  2. the lower frequency allows for a wider per cell coverage, lower signal decay, better building penetration. SoftBank had no access to such a lower band before which clearly contributed to being seen as having a weaker network. 

  3. note that the iPhone won’t be able to access its AXGP (TD-LTE) on band 41 

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