NTT DoCoMo, Inc. (a subsidiary of NTT) is Japan's largest mobile communications operator. DoCoMo had more than 30 million subscribers as of May 2000. The company also has subsidiaries in the U.S., France and Brazil and is listed in the TSE - the Tokyo Stock Exchange. NTT DoCoMo Inc, offers a popular cellular phone service in Japan. To this they have added a technology called "i-mode" which allows cell phone users to connect to the Internet. I-mode was launched on February 22nd, 1999; on August 6th, 2000 DoCoMo reported that the number of subscribers to the service topped 10 million. NTT DoCoMo Inc has been very successful with their Japanese customer-base, but they are already looking at branching out and growing their business. As of July 2000, they started offering English content through their I-mode portal, to accommodate International visitors to Japan, but this is only a first step at globalizing their cellular and I-mode services.

In January 2001, DoCoMo began aggressively making deals to grow their business into Europe and the United States.

First DoCoMo formed a Pan-European Mobile Internet Alliance with KPN Mobile NV, based in The Hague, The Netherlands and Telecom Italia Mobile, based in Rome, Italy. This alliance is going to rollout DoCoMo's I-mode technology to KPN and TIM's market in Belgium, Germany, Italy and The Netherlands. This collective co-operation will give DoCoMo a foothold in the European market, so they are not limited to Japan.

DoCoMo also began marketing a dual-mode phone, which uses NTT DoCoMo's PDC network in Japan and the GSM digital mobile communications system available in Europe, Asia, Africa and Oceania.

On Jan. 22 DoCoMo completed a payment of approx. US$9.8 billion to purchase a 16% stake in AT&T Wireless stock and received a seat on AT&T's board of directors. This alliance will work much like the pan-European scheme. AT&T's wireless nationwide network infrastructure will be used to transport DoCoMo's I-mode service. This is not a licensing deal, AT&T and DoCoMo will be working jointly with this project. A new company is going to be formed as a result of this deal, and both companies will share technical resources and support staffing. This arrangement will also help in promoting DoCoMo's W-CDMA technology in North America and DoCoMo will use its partnership with AT&T to further it's International cellular roaming capabilities into the United States.

Stock Information

I do not think that the Tokyo Stock Exchange publishes individual stock quotes on their website. However, DoCoMo's site publishes its annual and semi-annual financial reports. Shareholder's Equity per share the previous year ended March 31, 2000 was valued at 202,122.90 yen ($2653.22 CAN). As of September 30, 2000 the Shareholder Equity per share is 224,330.66 yen ($2944.73 CAN). In all other areas, they are exceeding the previous year. They are even exceeding the previous year in some yearly cumulative values.

Regarding the name of the company itself, the NTT part is obviously Nippon Telegraph and Telephone, the state-owned former monopoly that at last check was still the largest telco on the planet. But what about that funny "DoCoMo" bit? The official literature would have you believe that this is short for Do Communications over the Mobile Network, but there is unsurprisingly a much simpler explanation: doko mo means "anywhere" in Japanese. Using cool C's instead of krusty K's is trendy in Japan right now, and since Japanese neither makes distinctions between the two nor uses spaces between words, it was easy enough to mutate this into "DoCoMo".

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