Japanese carrier NTT Docomo on Monday blamed limited supplies of Apple’s iPhone 5s and iPhone 5c on a record drop in subscribers. During the month of September, DoCoMo saw a dip of 66,800 customers, and said many of its subscribers went elsewhere because Apple’s new iPhones were more readily available. Reuters revealed two of Docomo’s biggest rivals, KDDI and Softbank, actually saw large increases because each “had ample stocks” of new iPhone units.
This is actually the first time DoCoMo has offered an iPhone, though it appears the distinction is bitter sweet. Supply all around the world hasn’t been able to catch up with demand, and that might continue on until at least December; iPhone 5s models in gold, a newly introduced color, have been particularly difficult to find. Limited supply, however, still didn’t stop Apple from selling 9 million units during launch weekend—that figure has no doubt ballooned over the last few weeks.
The underlying theme here is that, with such limited supplies, customers were willing to go elsewhere to find Apple’s coveted smartphones. Back here in the states, that same issue occurred during the years T-Mobile didn’t offer the iPhone, with the carrier often blaming subscriber dips on its lack of iPhone hardware; the company did, however, have a pretty healthy contingent of unlocked iPhone users finding refuge away from AT&T.