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Docomo Posts Profit Increase After Adding IPhone to Boost Lineup

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Oct. 25 (Bloomberg) -- NTT Docomo Inc., Japan’s largest mobile-phone operator, posted an increase in quarterly net income after adding Apple Inc.’s iPhones to bolster its lineup.

Net income rose to 142.4 billion yen ($1.5 billion) in the three months ended Sept. 30, the Tokyo-based company said in a statement today. That beat the 133 billion-yen average of three analyst estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company in September started selling iPhones, the most popular brand in the nation, while also offering discounts on other models such as Sony Corp.’s Xperia Z1 to lure users of Android-based handsets. Docomo is using cost reductions to boost earnings as Japan’s wireless market nears saturation.

“Docomo was once the only carrier with brand power,” said Daisaku Masuno, an analyst at Nomura Holdings Inc. “Now, the three major operators offer similar levels of services and a variety of handsets and are all investing to improve their networks. It’s going to be neck and neck competition.”

The wireless operator lost 66,800 net users in September, the biggest subscriber loss on record. SoftBank added 270,700 and KDDI gained 232,700 users during the month. Docomo still dominates the Japanese market in cumulative market share with 44.6 percent.

The company maintained its forecasts for full-year operating profit of 840 billion yen and net income of 510 billion yen.

To contact the reporters on this story: Mariko Yasu in Tokyo at myasu@bloomberg.net; Takashi Amano in Tokyo at tamano6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Tighe at mtighe4@bloomberg.net

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