by Carlo Longino

What's Different For DoCoMo?

Japan's NTT DoCoMo wrote off $13 billion in failed investments in foreign carriers around the turn of the century, in the process swearing off its high-spending ways. All that's changed of late, with the company again looking outside Japan for investment targets. A $13 billion writeoff would scare most companies straight, but DoCoMo swearing it's doing things differently this time. BusinessWeek characterizes the latest moves as "looking at partnerships with more of an eye toward strategy" -- making us wonder if that means they had no strategy with their earlier investments. What's different this time around? The company's limiting most of its investments to $90 million or less, and is shopping in Asia in an attempt to get in before the likes of Vodafone, an exec says. A couple points: that limit must not apply to its $560 million investment in KT Freetel, nor its $300 million investment in PLDT in the Philippines. Also, Vodafone's already in Asia -- along with its floundering Japanese unit, it owns a stake in and has a partnership with China Mobile and has invested in the fast-growing Indian market. Interestingly, the DoCoMo exec says the strategy of licensing i-mode -- which has been successful -- isn't about generating revenues so much as generating economies of scale for i-mode enabled handsets. That's another curious comment, give that DoCoMo isn't likely to benefit from that scale, since it sells vastly different handsets than its overseas licensees. It sounds like the company's starting to struggle as its home market matures and subscriber growth slows, and it's scrambling to find a strategy -- and justify it.

Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Use markdown for basic formatting. HTML is no longer supported.
  Save me a cookie
Follow Techdirt
Techdirt Gear
Shop Now: Techdirt Logo Gear
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads


Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.