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Official with Japan's NTT DoCoMo fuels speculation that carrier will offer Apple's iPhone

Comments made by an executive with NTT DoCoMo, Japan's largest wireless carrier, have suggested a deal to carry Apple's iPhone could be inked in the near future.

Kazuto Tsubouchi, chief financial officer of DoCoMo, said in an interview with SankeiBiz that although a deal has not yet been reached with Apple, he believes it would make good business sense for his company to do so. He added that it would be difficult to arrange something by Sept. 10, the day Apple is expected to hold a media event to unveil its new iPhone lineup.

The arrival of the iPhone on DoCoMo has been highly anticipated, as the carrier is the largest wireless provider in Japan. In the interview, Tsubouchi suggested that his company is ready to strike a deal with Apple.

The sentiment expressed by the carrier's CFO is a significant change in tone from previous comments made by DoCoMo. A representative for the company said in June that DoCoMo was in no rush to reach a deal with Apple, as the iPhone is no longer "the god of all smartphones."

A major sticking point between the two companies is said to be Apple's refusal to allow carrier partners to preinstall applications and services on the iPhone. DoCoMo has been focused on developing a "lifestyle system" which requires certain software to come installed on the phones it sells.

Pressure has been mounting on DoCoMo, as market watchers believe the carrier must forge a deal with Apple if the company is to retain its place as the top carrier in Japan. NTT DoCoMo has about 60 million subscribers.