Tokyo: NTT DoCoMo Inc. aims to boost its overseas business to account for 10% of sales within five years from 2% now, as it continues to seek acquisitions after an investment in an Indian operator, a senior executive said on Thursday.
DoCoMo, Japan’s biggest mobile phone operator, last month said it would pay $2.7 billion (Rs13,446 crore) for a 26% stake in Tata Teleservices, India’s No. 6 wireless carrier, making an entry into the world’s fastest-growing major mobile market.
Toshinari Kunieda, senior vice president and managing director of DoCoMo’s global business division, said the company aims to expand its overseas business through more acquisitions and increased cooperation with firms in which it has already invested.
Foreign push: Toshinari Kunieda. Nelson Ching / Bloomberg
“Considering Japan’s future economy with the ageing society ... we just have to go abroad,” he said in an interview.
DoCoMo spent nearly 1.9 trillion yen ($20.4 billion) in the late 1990s and early 2000s to invest in operators around the world, to promote use of its i-mode mobile Internet technology and ensure the adoption of 3G network on the same W-CDMA standard it uses.
But it saw its investments sour, and pulled out of AT&T Wireless Services Inc, Dutch operator KPN Mobile N.V. and Hutchison 3G UK Holdings after incurring heavy losses. DoCoMo is now back on an overseas acquisition spree as its home market is expected to show little growth.
Prior to its entry into India, the company took a stake in Bangladesh’s No. 3 cellphone carrier for $350 million. DoCoMo also has bought stakes in companies such as South Korea’s KTF and Philippine Long Distance Telephone (PLDT).
Kunieda said DoCoMo will prioritize beefing up its Asia-Pacific operations but will not exclude the US and Europe as possible destinations for future investments.
“It is easier in the US and Europe to bring out strategic synergies,” he said. “It is possible to develop applications, content and mobile phones with a partner.”