DoCoMo could spend up to USD8b on international expansion

14 Nov 2007

Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers NTT DoCoMo could spend between USD5 billion and USD8 billion to acquire telecoms assets in emerging markets, a company executive said Tuesday. DoCoMo, which has been hit hardest by the introduction of mobile number portability in October last year, is facing declining profit margins in the face of fierce sector competition from KDDI and Softbank Mobile. Although it is banking on new services such as its ‘wallet phone’ to generate fresh revenue streams, it is clear its growth could receive a useful leg-up from overseas expansion. DoCoMo senior vice president and managing editor Toshinari Kunieda told Dow Jones Newswires yesterday ‘In the Asia-Pacific region, we are having many discussions with many operators … There are many Japanese tourists travelling in South East Asia and we can benefit from offering services in countries such as Indonesia, Vietnam, Thailand, Malaysia and New Zealand.’ It is understood the Japanese heavyweight is looking to purchase a minimum 10% equity stake in each of its target assets, although Kunieda declined to name any specific companies in DoCoMo’s sights. The cellco already owns around 10.3% of KT Freetel in South Korea, 18.67% in Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), and 24.1% stake in Hutchison Telecommunications International Ltd (HTIL).