1 March 2002 Japanese mobile telephone giant NTT DoCoMo is floating today on the London and New York stock exchanges. The company is the biggest mobile phone operator in Japan and the world’s first and most successful operator of a third generation (3G) mobile network.
The move marks the first stage in an expansion strategy for the company. Having shares listed on London and New York will enable it to more easily form partnerships and take control of overseas rivals.
NTT DoCoMo already has a 15% stake in Netherlands-based KPN Mobile and owns one-fifth of British third generation mobile operator Hutchison 3G, which plans to launch in the second half of this year.
NTT DoCoMo boasts more than 30 million subscribers – approximately a quarter of the Japanese population – and is best known for pioneering the i-Mode system that has proved more successful in the market than Europe’s alternative wireless application protocol (WAP). The company plans to roll out i-Mode based services across Europe.
Its high-speed 3G service was successfully rolled out in the Japanese capital Tokyo in October last year and will be expanded into other major Japanese cities in April.
NTT DoCoMo was spun-off from parent NTT in October 1998 in one of the most eagerly awaited flotations on the Japanese stock market in recent years. However, it is still 67% owned by NTT, Japan’s incumbent fixed line telephony operator.
The public offering was accompanied by a five-for-one stock split in a bid to reduce its stock price to a more manageable level: £7,947 (€13,000) per share.