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Global Telecoms Business
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The nightingale sighs in Berkeley Square

01 April 2004

NTT DoCoMo, the outstandingly successful Japanese mobile operator, is clearly happy with most of its European partnerships. But there is one exception, though: its investment in Hutchison Whampoa's third generation business in the UK. On that, however, words are clearly not enough. Alan Burkitt-Gray listens to the sighs and groans

John Batten
Senior executives of any company normally have a limited range of comment about their employer's investments in other companies. If the partnership is doing well, the reaction is enthusiasm and congratulation. If the business is doing badly, stoic resilience is the best you'll usually get. At worst, you might be offered a well crafted statement about all options being considered.

When it comes to the Japanese mobile giant NTT DoCoMo and its investment in the poorly performing UK third-generation venture 3, the official, on-the-record reaction is close to the second of these three options: a shrug, a sigh, a shake of the head, an expression of determination, an acceptance that things aren't quite right but that something can be sorted out.

So it came as a shock to this editor — standing there with pencil and notebook — to see, at a reception for analysts and...