Softbank could invest in DoCoMo’s mobile broadcasting venture

17 Sep 2010

Japan’s Nikkei Daily newspaper reports that domestic telco Softbank Corp is looking to invest in fellow operator NTT DoCoMo’s new mobile broadcasting company. If it comes to pass, the development would mark something of a sea change in thinking with two leading rivals collaborating on the development of the new mobile communications system in Japan. DoCoMo hopes to establish the new company by Spring 2012; the fledgling unit will be responsible for the construction and management of broadcasting facilities in the country. Earlier this month a government-appointed advisory panel selected a consortium headed by DoCoMo to build the necessary infrastructure for multimedia digital broadcasting for mobile handsets.

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, in July 2010 DoCoMo and KDDI Corp (au Corp) presented their competing plans for delivering a next generation mobile-device broadcasting service to the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications (MIC). Although existing mobile broadcast service licences allow the airing of digital TV, the next generation concession will enable the winner to broadcast a variety of content, such as movies, sports coverage and electronic books, directly to handsets and PDA-type devices. The launch date for next generation broadcasting could take place as soon as spring 2012 and DoCoMo and KDDI were vying for the rights to the single licence on offer. Both KDDI and DoCoMo created new companies to develop next generation mobile, but the latter’s bid emerged as the winner. DoCoMo may have to invest JPY80-JPY100 billion (USD864 million-USD1.081 billion) to build out base stations across the country to deliver the new service.

Japan, SoftBank Group Corp