NTT DoCoMo to ditch high-end models for smartphones


TOKYO (majirox news) — NTT DoCoMo Inc. will discontinue its existing high-end mobile phone terminals from November in favor of smartphones, company sources said Sept. 27.

Smartphones are expected to occupy half the NTT DoCoMo range by the end of this year and occupy even more of the telecom’s offerings through next year.

Smartphone shipments in Japan have topped 20 million units in 2011, growing about 2.3 times and now occupying 49% of the total mobile phone market, according to market research company MM Research Ltd., which expects smartphones to overtake existing models next year and account for 60% of total sales. NTT DoCoMo’s shift toward smartphones is expected to further accelerate the move away from existing models.

NTT DoCoMo is planning to discard its Prime and Pro models. These sell in the 50,000 to 60,000 yen range ($650 to $780). They were NTT DoCoMo’s leading models and made up about 30% of the telecom’s terminal sales.

The mobile phone giant plans to offer both high-end and lower-end smartphones with details of the range to be made public with its official release of winter models in mid-October.

NTT DoCoMo will maintain its Style range of lower-priced terminals, which sell in the 20,000 yen to 30,000 yen ($260 to $390) range, as well as RakuRaku Phones targeted at middle-aged and elderly users.

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