Sometimes it hurts to be so advanced (we never thought we’d say that).
Apple has apparently run into a roadblock in bringing the iPhone to Japan’s NTT DoCoMo. While the whole iPhone revenue sharing model is being hashed out, that isn’t the biggest deal-killer here. In fact, NTT DoCoMo CEO Masayuki Hirata said that, ” The handset is easy to use and can open new markets, which makes this an interesting proposition,” Hirata said in an interview yesterday. We are in continuous contact with the company, but the specifics are still in the future.”
The problem, it seems, is that NTT DoCoMo’s networks have all converted to the more advanced W-CDMA (3G) standard, and will not work with the current GSM iPhone. The only way to get the iPhone to play nice on the Japanese network would require Apple to release a 3G iPhone which is compatible with the W-CDMA standard.
Considering the GSM market is hundreds of millions strong, and that WCDMA boasts about 50 million subscribers, it doesn’t make sense for Apple to release a 3G iPhone at this time. A 3G iPhone release would likely cannibalize GSM iPhone sales. Especially with other GSM markets still unexplored.
So, what’s to become of the iPhone in Japan? It most likely won’t get there until Apple launches the 3G iPhone.