NTT DoCoMo is Japan's largest mobile carrier, with about 60 million subscribers. But it remains a holdout on the iPhone, primarily due to the fact that the carrier likes to pre-load applications and services on phones -- something Apple specifically forbids. A SankeiBiz interview with DoCoMo CFO Kazuto Tsubouchi reveals that the company has been in negotiations with Apple, although they don't expect to have come to agreement prior to the announcement of the next-generation iPhones expected on September 10.
DoCoMo develops a "lifestyle system" for phones on its network that requires special software to come pre-installed on those phones, whereas Apple doesn't want carrier bloatware installed on iPhones. Market watchers say that the carrier must make a deal with Apple if they're to remain on top of the Japanese market.
Although a DoCoMo representative made a comment in July about the iPhone no longer being "the god of all smartphones," the company can't afford to ignore the positive financial impact that the iPhone has had on many other carriers around the world.