Apple Inc iPhone 5S, iPhone 5C available free, with strings attached

Apple iPhone 5CSteve Jobs loved to have his clients over a barrel to impose his will on them.

The day Apple Inc unveiled its next-generation flagship smartphone, the iPhone 5S, at its high-profile launch event in Cupertino, California, long-time antagonist NTT DOCOMO announced that both iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C will be available on its network beginning Friday, September 20. NTT DOCOMO, Japan's largest cellular provider, would start selling Apple Inc's smartphones for the first time and that also meant the country's three major carriers (DOCOMO, SoftBank and KDDI) now have jumped onto the iPhone bandwagon.

And, considering that iPhone has always been such a disruptive force, this has led to the unleashing of a price war to attract new customers - all three telcos are offering the iPhone 5S with discounts that effectively make the phone, sensationally, free on contract. However, as with any subsidized device, limitations apply to early upgraders, though the up front fee is still less than what customers in the US will have to pay.

As far as the 'no frills' iPhone 5C is concerned, at the moment, only KDDI is offering a free version with a new contract activation or transfer from another carrier.

To steal an early march, DOCOMO is running a promo to lure existing iPhone users away from rival networks. If an iPhone owner brings in his/her used SoftBank or KDDI handset, they will receive special bonus 'points' that can be applied to a new DOCOMO account, redeemable for other products or repair services. Not that DOCOMO joined Apple Inc willingly. It was dragged kicking and screaming by the Japanese company's customers. How? They just up and left DOCOMO -a report estimated that a humongous 66 per cent of former DOCOMO customers exited the carrier because it did not sell the iPhone. This suits Apple Inc very well indeed. After all Steve Jobs loved to have his clients over a barrel to liberally impose his will on them. Since the first iPhone was released in 2007, DOCOMO has been unwilling to carry the smartphone as Apple Inc does not allow carriers to pre-install apps or brand the device with their logo. The telco was still holding out as late as July when CEO Kaoru Kato said his company was in no rush to ink a deal due to Apple Inc's strict requirements. His antagonism collapsed in months! This is what he had to say when deal was clinched: "We're thrilled to offer the incredible new iPhone 5S and iPhone 5C to our customers."

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