Apple has just unveiled its new top-end smartphone, iPhone 5S. Whereas it costs you significantly (starts from $199) if you purchase it, together with a two-year contract in the U.S., the handset is being offered for free by carriers in Japan. Of course, you’ll have to sign up for a two-year contract to avail the offer.
The announcement was made by Japanese carriers on Friday and it is being speculated that NTT DoCoMo has been the key player behind this move. This can be understood in view of the fact that DoCoMo has been able to offer iPhone for the first time.
With the entry of DoCoMo into the carrier wars, the price competitiveness is going to get fierce in the country. In the past years, a just-released iPhone handset has never been offered for free in Japan but DoCoMo is reshaping the iPhone pricing in the country this time.
Interestingly, DoCoMo has also been trying to break existing iPhone users away from other carriers. The company is offering special bonus points to such users who have a SoftBank or KDDI iPhone handset. These points can then be used to redeem DoCoMo products.
The release of iPhone 5S marks a new age for Apple in Japan. Analysts estimate that thanks to Apple’s deals with DoCoMo and China Mobile, Apple will be able to gain some 35 million more iPhone handsets in 2014. It is not clear what kind of a deal will the Japanese carriers be offering for the cheaper, iPhone 5C handset.