Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers, NTT DoCoMo, is seeking investments in other Asian markets as it looks to offset a lack of growth in its heavily saturated and highly competitive home market. The carrier’s move mirrors recent actions by the like of SK Telecom in South Korea which is also looking outside its own borders for future revenue streams.
TeleGeography’s GlobalComms database notes that the Japanese cellco’s Asian expansion plans are already in train. In September 2008 it completed the USD350 million purchase of a 30% stake in Bangladesh’s third largest cellco TM International (Bangladesh) Limited (TMIB, operating under the AKTEL brand) from AK Khan & Co. Two months later, in November, DoCoMo signed an accord to acquire 26% of Indian company Tata Teleservices (TTSL) through the issuance of new shares and by purchasing a roughly 6% stake from existing shareholders. The Japanese operator also owns 100% of DoCoMo Pacific (Guam and Mariana), around 2.2% of KT Freetel in South Korea, 14.1% in Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT), 4.7% of FET in Taiwan, a 24.1% stake in Hutchison Telephone Company, and 16.5% of U Mobile Malaysia.