Deregulation of the Japanese telecoms industry started in 1985,
when the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) was
transformed into a private company. After six years of
protracted discussions between the ministries of finance and
posts and telecommunications, it was decided to spin off the
mobile operations from NTT.
The new company, NTT Ido Tshushin Kikaku Kabushikikaisha, was
created in August 1991. The name was subsequently changed to
NTT DoCoMo in April 1992 (with DoCoMo standing for "Do
Communications over the Mobile Network"). In July 1993 NTT
DoCoMo transferred sales activities in the mobile
communications business to eight regional subsidiaries. The
operator rapidly became the biggest mobile operator in the
world. It established its first subsidiary in Europe in August
In October 1998 a 28.5% stake in NTT DoCoMo was sold in an
initial public offering. The IPO was more than two times
over-subscribed, raising $18.4 billion. Following the listing,
NTT's holding fell to 67.1%.
Kate Lye, a telecoms equity analyst at Warburg Dillon Read,
talks about DoCoMo's recent success and the impact of the new
CDMA offering from DDI and IDO: "In the last year, it has been
an excellent performance. They increased their cellular
subscriber base by 30% in the past financial year. April 1999
has been a point of change, with the introduction of cdmaOne on
a nation-wide basis from DDI and IDO. Sure enough, we have seen
some impact on their market share. To provide an example,
DoCoMo's market share in Tokyo fell to 48% of new subscribers.
Their cumulative market share has been 68% of new subscribers
over the past year. So cdmaOne is certainly having some impact.
"Having said that, particularly in the case of DoCoMo, I am
not sure that market share is necessarily the main issue. I
think that profitability is what we want to see. I think that
DoCoMo will take steps: they are not going to jeopardize
profitability, but they are also going to pretty well maintain
their market share."
Lye explains how DoCoMo may evolve its strategy, to counter
the increased competition from DDI and IDO: "I think that they
will try to maintain their high-quality, high-usage customers
and that they will continue to provide very good after-market
services. Secondly, they will try to win on services and
products, particularly data and their i-mode service. I think
this will come in above the cdmaOne services. Thirdly, I think
they will take somewhat of a counter-active action against
cdmaOne. They are quite specifically taking three months to
watch what happens with cdmaOne. If they seem to be losing
substantial market share, they would then look at new pricing
strategies, different pricing plans, perhaps price cuts - new
services - expanding i-mode."
NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service enables subscribers to access
Internet services through their mobile phones. Users gain
access to a number of on-line services, including interactive
services, such as mobile banking, news and stock updates and
As i-mode is based on packet data transmission technology,
users only have to pay when they actually retrieve information,
rather than the time that they are on-line. In addition i-mode
customers can use to the service to send and receive e-mails
through computers, PDAs (personal digital assistants) and other
i-mode phones. The e-mails are displayed as soon as they
arrive. Launched in February 1999, 220,000 customers had
already subscribed to the service by May 23. The operator
expects to have 4 million subscribers by the end of the year.
NTT DoCoMo has also carried out R&D on advanced mobile
communications technologies, promoting its own wideband code
division multiple access system (W-CDMA) as the international
third generation standard. At a meeting in June 1999 it
appeared that an agreement on a group of standards, based on
CDMA, was supported by operators serving 75% of the world's
customers. However, it had still not been signed by some US
wireless operators. NTT DoCoMo seems likely to be one of the
first operators to adopt a 3G system in 2001 and is even
establishing committees to work on developing a 4G standard.
In an exclusive interview with Global Telecoms Business, NTT
DoCoMo's president Keiji Tachikawa talks about third
generation, the i-mode service, the development of wireless
data applications with Microsoft and other revenue drivers that
will enable the operator to remain at the forefront of wireless
It looks as if there may not be one universal 3G
standard. How do you react to these developments? Does this
imply that you will delay implementation of W-CDMA in Japan?
Are your competitors, DDI and IDO, stealing a march on NTT
DoCoMo, as your 3G services will only be available in 2001? How
much is the CDMA network costing to build?
Tachikawa: Well let me start with the next generation
standard issue. It seemed at one time that there would be some
trouble because of the Ericsson/Qualcomm battle. However, that
problem has already been resolved. The ITU's standardization
initiatives are making progress and standardization is almost
proceeding according to plan. However, the original goal of the
next generation system, which was to achieve a perfectly single
standard, is not really going to be realized, as many countries
oppose this idea, in particular the US. So multiple standard
technologies may well co-exist in the market.
We have also changed our position on this matter. We believe
that the existence of multiple technologies that compete with
each other might be better and beneficial in terms of joint
technological development rather than having one single
standard. If you only had one technology, the technological
life time is only about 20 years. Therefore, instead of having
only one unified standard and people becoming more conservative
to preserve that standard, it might be better to have more
In Japan another operator other than DoCoMo might adopt
wideband CDMA for the next generation system. As you mentioned,
DDI and IDO have not yet decided on their preferred next
generation technology. I expect that they will use the US
technology. So different technologies would co-exist in the
Admittedly starting this spring DDI and IDO launched a 21/2G
technology nation-wide, cdmaOne. This technology seems to have
been well received in the market, as it has new features
compared to 2G. So that technology represents a threat to
DoCoMo, but that is an aspect of competition. We are responding
to this threat by resolving the problems in the 2G network. And
3G systems will take care of those issues that cannot be
resolved through these improvements.
So when it comes to the high-speed transmission capabilities,
such as 64Kbps or 128Kbps, those rates cannot be provided to
our customers efficiently in the current network. So we believe
that it is better to migrate to 3G systems in those cases. We
are witnessing increasing demand for data communications in the
market in Japan. To meet these demands, we would like to
introduce the 3G system in spring 2001, as scheduled. The
necessary preparations are now under way.
In April we completed the selection of joint development
partners for the equipment to be used for third generation
systems. We are assuming that all the details of the
specifications will be finalized in December this year. So we
would like to start the development and production phase
accordingly. We are now planning to start network deployment
and construction around the middle of year 2000, but we have
not yet decided how large the network will be in the initial
stage. That is because we have still not judged demand for this
network. It is supposed to cater for high-speed data
capabilities - we have not yet finalized our estimation of
Therefore the total amount of investment has not been
determined. But we would like to achieve a lower cost compared
to second generation systems. So naturally if you compare voice
communications, specifically this means that the 3G system
should cost less than the 2G system.
If I can take you up on two of the points that you
made. Firstly on improvements to 2G technology. A number of
operators have referred to the benefits of GSM 21/2, implying a
phase between 2G and 3G systems. Some people have claimed that
packet GSM could be a potential replacement to 3G. It has been
stated that these technologies provide ample data capacity. How
do you view such announcements?
Tachikawa: Compared to our PDC system, GSM has the
potential to offer slightly higher transmission capabilities.
The introduction of packet technology may achieve a bit rate of
115Kbt/second. I have heard that some European operators are
investigating possibilities in this area. I think that it might
be a good idea to absorb immediate market demand.
However, in Japan we have already introduced a packet data
network, using the existing PDC system, which offers a bit rate
of 28.8Kbps. This was introduced two years ago. But
unfortunately it is not really efficient to try to achieve a
higher bit rate than 28.8.
We would expect to achieve higher rates through the 3G system.
But in any event even with GSM it is not feasible to achieve a
higher bit rate than 384Kbps. So a 3G system will be required
at some time in the future.
In the end, it is a matter of the strategy that you decide to
take: would you like to extend 2G service as much as possible
or would you prefer to select 3G and introduce it as soon as
possible to try and deliver a full coverage of service with 3G
at an early stage?
There is another constraint in Japan: as most operators are
making good use of 2G spectrum, in order to provide high-speed
data capabilities it might be better to utilize a new frequency
band and achieve a new service by obtaining new spectrum from
Certain operators and suppliers have been demanding a
phased approach to 3G capabilities, involving interim
enhancements to US-TDMA, CDMA/IS-95 and GSM. Could attempts to
hold back 3G systems and the increasing competitive climate,
coupled with the consequent need for further R&D
expenditure, adversely affect NTT DoCoMo's margins?
Tachikawa: I don't agree. The 3G concept was raised
almost 15 years ago in 1985. So we have spent 15 years on the
R&D into this concept. It must materialize over the next
few years. If we don't move forward quickly, we will be
surpassed by 4G. And we have already started the R&D
committees for 4G. We are targeting 2010 for 4G.
Could you tell our readers about the W-CDMA handsets
that will be available when the network is up and running? What
added capabilities will these handsets have?
Tachikawa: The key factors offered by 3G terminals
are high-speed capabilities and the wideband capabilities. So
we believe that 3G terminals should take full advantage of the
high-speed and wider band capabilities. At a meeting of our
joint development department the other day, we focused on four
types of terminals to be jointly developed and supplied.
The first is a hand-held type, which could be used as a TV
phone as well. This is a portable phone which would carry both
voice and data capabilities of up to about 128Kbps. It would
also be used for image transmission.
The second is a car navigation terminal: it will have a larger
screen and will be mounted on a car. We are also considering
the possibility of mobile phones equipped on top of a personal
computer, with colour moving pictures transmitted through the
But it is easier to assume that these personal computers would
be used in a stationary environment rather than on the move. So
this would have a transmission capability of up to 2Mbps.
And the fourth type of terminal is more suited for
inter-computer communications or machine-machine
communications, which will not handle voice at all. While there
are others, we would consider first these different types of
terminals which will represent a striking difference from 2G
Which suppliers are you using for the handsets?
Tachikawa: There is an extensive list of suppliers,
as we have classified them for each type. There are 15 vendors.
The foreign vendors include Nokia, Ericsson and Motorola.
Why did you select Lucent Technologies to supply the
Base Transceiver Stations (BTS) and the Radio Network
Controller/Multimedia Processing Equipment (RNC/MPE)?
Tachikawa: Actually our procurement process dates
back to the initial process for the experimental system. We
signed contracts with the vendors that passed our exams,
looking at their track record in the experimental system and
that of the other vendors for the proposal of the commercial
In short we selected vendors that can meet our specification
and timing restraints. We also look at costs.
Could you tell us about the "Doccimo" service? How
important is it to combine PHS and cellular in one phone? What
do you perceive to be the benefits of PHS services?
Tachikawa: So far people in Japan tend to think of
telecoms services quite independently of each other. But in my
view there are fashions and trends: a specific service prospers
and then declines. There could be a supplementary relationship
between services. In my opinion PHS and cellular can provide
very close services to each other, centred on one service. So
it is a very close system offering mainly voice services.
There are some specific features to both: the PDC cellular
system can handle high-speed motions, such as the speed as you
move by car. On the other hand the PHS service can only cater
to a walking speed. In contrast the bandwidth is different for
both. This means that PDC can only offer a bit rate of 9.6Kbps,
while PHS can offer up to 64Kbps.
So you cannot forget about these differences. To achieve the
greatest benefit, it is best to combine them. To attain this
goal, we developed the composite terminal, Doccimo. Naturally
the advances in production technology achieved by the
manufacturer contributed to the materialization of this
product. Doccimo weighs less than 90 grams.
I believe that this would offer a significant benefit to
users, as they will be able to select the mode that they would
prefer to use, depending on their own environment and usage.
After we introduce the 3G system in 2001, we believe that it
would be best for us to combine the benefits of these systems
and pass them on to our customers. I am referring to W-CDMA,
PDC, PHS and pagers. Even pagers can be used for an information
delivery network, with a data rate of 6.4Kbps.
How are you going to try and boost revenues for your
Tachikawa: Actually an increasing number of our
subscribers appreciate the data rate of 64Kbpsoffered by PHS.
We have witnessed a net growth in PHS subscribers since April
1999. So we anticipate growth in subscriber levels and
consequently in revenues.
More interestingly we now plan to develop a location and
detection service, based on this technology. So at a half or a
third of the size of a cassette tape box, this terminal will
have no voice or communications capabilities, but will be
dedicated for location/detection. This new type of terminal can
be used for small children and elderly people and also for
pets. So we would like to secure significant PHS revenue from
this type of new service.
Why do you think that the Ministry of Posts and
Telecommunications recently over-ruled DoCoMo's discount
package on cellular-PHS bundle contracts?
Tachikawa: This was not really a policy decision of
the state authorities. They were responding to complaints
raised by our competitors: as they cannot provide the same
service - as they do not have both - they wanted to delay the
introduction of this service.
It is true that the ministry asked us to review the tariff
structure, as there were some unreasonable points in that
structure. They decided to adopt a wait and see approach, since
they do not believe that there is an inherent problem in the
So the basic element of that ruling can be summed up as
follows: the elements that existed here were not included in
the other plan. To consider user benefits, we decided to have
an equal level in the menu. In other words the discount rate is
much higher than we had originally planned. So they helped us
in the end.
A number of analysts believed that this ruling might
lead DoCoMo to exit from the PHS business. They also believe
that withdrawal from PHS would be a good step to make, as this
would rule out any potential dilution to DoCoMo's earnings.
What do you think?
Tachikawa: There are such analysts in the market. But
we believe that if we have a comprehensive range of products,
we can diversify the services that we offer our customers. In
addition, one of the characteristics of DoCoMo is that we are
offering a comprehensive range of services, including maritime
telephony and in-flight service. We also have satellite
So instead of splitting off the PHS business, we believe that
it is better to offer comprehensive services and combine
different elements. In our opinion it would be more beneficial
to offer our users a more composite range of services.
I realize that some analysts out there are saying that paging
is a loss-making business and that therefore DoCoMo should stop
this service. But rather than dumping this system, DoCoMo
believes that pagers have a good potential for multicasting
information. So this will now become the core of the future
How do you view the market for wireless data
applications in Japan? Which new services will you be able to
offer customers in 2001? Do you think that applications such as
Internet access and televised phone conversations will boost
growth in subscriber numbers?
Tachikawa: We are already responding to requirements
for Internet access and e-mail services with our network. In
terms of e-mail, we are offering a short messaging service and
ten yen ($0.08) e-mail service.
We have both a circuit-switched network and packet-switched
network for Internet access. Unfortunately even if we already
have those in place, data communications account for only 1% of
the total traffic.
In contrast in the PHS network data traffic already accounts
for 25% of the total. We signed contracts with the vendors that
passed our exams. With the PDC system we aim to increase data
traffic to 10% by 2001. At about the same time we are planning
to introduce the third generation wideband CDMA network. So
among that 10% traffic those who opt for high-speed data
transmission capabilities will be transferred to the wideband
And then further down the road - in 2010 - I would forecast,
although this is not definite, that data traffic would
overwhelm voice traffic. I predict that there will be 80
million cellular subscribers by 2010 in Japan, which is
actually double the level in 1999. In other words these 80
million subscribers will represent an aggregation of the users
subscribing to multiple services (for example three services
for one person).
So let us say that the user would carry in his pocket a
handset with a TV. In his car he would have another terminal
for car navigation. The user would have built-in transmission
equipment in the PC. With this alone you already have three
subscriptions. Only one of these three terminals is for voice,
the others are for data traffic. So this explains why data
traffic would overwhelm voice traffic in the future. This would
mean a huge number of terminals out there in the market.
What percentage of the market with you be able to
retain in 2010?
Tachikawa: I don't know. I cannot forecast. We have
57% now. If we manage to maintain the status quo, we will
retain this share. I want DoCoMo to remain the leading company.
What do you perceive to be actual demand for mobile
computing in Japan? Can you explain how the tariffing system
could enable consumers to have a free 24-hour connection to the
Tachikawa: The traffic for mobile computing amounts
to about 1% of the total traffic. But then you need to consider
the number of terminals sold: that would include the data
cards, the PDAs and composite PDAs. The total number of minutes
sold for mobile computing already exceeds the one million mark.
In February this year we launched an interesting new service
for our customers, the i-mode service, which is a hybrid of the
packet network and the traditional PDC network.
So when i-mode is connected with the packet network, it would
be used for the transfer of information, especially data
communications. The terminal is constantly connected to the
Internet, but the customer will not have to pay any tariff, if
no information is transferred..
However, in the radio environment it is never possible for a
constant connection, since that would consume the limited
spectrum resource. So only the packet solution will virtually
enable that to happen. Therefore we are utilizing packet. But
from the consumer's viewpoint it looks as if the consumers are
always connected to the network and that they can always
contact the Internet, whenever they want.
Chess provides a good example. If you are playing a game of
chess with a remote partner, utilize a circuit-switched network
and the game took five hours, you have to pay a tariff for a
five-hour phone call. However, when you use a packet-switched
network to play this chess game, you will only pay for the
moves that you make. So the information transacted is very
This is one solution that we would like to use more, as we
respond to demand for Internet access. That is the basic
concept of next-generation wideband CDMA. So you can say that
wideband CDMA will be fully used for packet connections.
You mentioned i-mode: you already have 220,000
subscribers after three months. How many subscribers do you
expect to have by 2001?
Tachikawa: Our first target is to achieve 4 million
subscribers by the end of 1999. I believe that we would like to
have 50% of all our customers connected to i-mode within two or
three years. At this time i-mode will have some other features.
In other words the terminals to be released from next year
onwards will already have standard i-mode equipment. The phone
that you buy now is equipped with i-mode.
Could you tell us about your relationship with
Microsoft to develop wireless data applications? How do you
plan to use Sun's Java in cell phones? What does NTT DoCoMo
gain from these strategic relationships?
Tachikawa: When you consider computer communications
on the move, you always have to think about the limited
resources of the radio spectrum. But if you look at the
traditional protocols, they are basically developed,
envisioning a fixed environment. So we believe that the PCPIP
protocol is not really suitable for the radio interface.
In addition it is very unlikely for us and not desirable for
us to install that heavy Windows 98 operating system on the
terminal. There should be an operating system and protocol that
is more suitable for the mobile terminal.
So we have just embarked on a mutual development with
Microsoft, listing our requirements. But at the same time we
are not totally reliant on Microsoft. We are looking at Symbian
as well, as they are developing an operating system. So we are
involved in joint developments with Symbian. Going forward the
users will in the end choose the one they prefer.
Our relationship with Sun is related more to the protocol
aspect. The market has not still decided which is the best
protocol for the radio environment. We are using html in the
current version of i-mode. But we know that WAP (wireless
application protocol) is there. So going forward the market
will decide which is the best protocol.
One unique feature of i-mode is a good big-sized screen. It
also weighs about the same as ordinary phones.
Which new telecoms services are you providing for the
increasing number of old people in Japan? How are you
attracting more female consumers?
Tachikawa: We have actually taken a number of
measures to incorporate more female customers on our network.
And we have been successful in this area. For Japanese at
least, women tend to talk much more to each other than men. The
vast majority of telephone calls on the fixed-line network are
due to women. And this is also true for increases in the mobile
This applies only to the younger generation and not for the
aged. But that younger generation will grow and at some time in
the future everybody in Japan will perhaps love chatting on the
phone. This means that the president of NTT DoCoMo 20 years
from now will have a very easy time with everything.
At this time women aged over 40 are not really interested in
having a long chat over the phone. Men over 60 are not really
interested in mobile phones. So these constitute some of the
targets for DoCoMo. The immediate target is the one who
appreciates the convenience. The next target relates to
So we are targeting the younger generation, both men and
women. As this generation is brought up on and very familiar
with games. we decided to target them. Demand for computer
communications using a cell phone is mostly driven by men and
women in their 20s and 30s.
Initially women in their 20s lagged behind men in terms of
e-mail use. Therefore our company developed a very inexpensive
and easy to use keyboard, which can easily be connected to a
mobile phone, in order to develop demand in this sector. We
achieved record sales of 300,000 units in only a year. The
keyboard terminal was developed by female employees of DoCoMo.
An estimated 88% of the population in Japan and 57% of
15-19 year olds have a mobile phone. Do you agree that mobile
phones seem to be replacing other leisure goods in Japan? Have
you noticed any reaction from the leisure industries?
Tachikawa: Some industries are indeed complaining
that mobile phones have taken away their business. I would
treat this complaint as follows. If you look at the ARPU, it
works out at only 9,000 yen ($74.28) on average. Naturally the
total 9,000 yen does not all go to DoCoMo.
But in any event this monthly ARPU indicates that an
insubstantial proportion of disposable income is spent on
mobile phones. These young people have more money to spend.
They are spending money on other goods as well.
It might also be possible to say that, if you consider the
times when they do not have a mobile phone, they have to spend
9,000 yen on average anyway. Some people claim that comic books
are not selling as well as in the past or that the fast food
industries are achieving less revenues than before. I would say
that the young generation previously read too many comic books.
How long do DoCoMo subscribers keep a handset, before
switching to new smaller models? How much does it cost DoCoMo
to subsidize the frequent switch-over from handset to handset
of existing subscribers?
Tachikawa: Our company puts a new terminal in the
market once a year. That is a reasonable period to cater for
technological innovations. That is part of our competition
policy. But I do not want users to replace the terminals too
frequently, because every time they do we have to spend some
sales commission on each terminal or cross-subsidize customers.
It is also true that things are becoming controversial. That
is because we have 25 million customers on our network. Every
customer replaces their terminal once every three years. This
means that every year 8 million new terminals are issued. If we
have to pay so much commission to cross-subsidize users a lot,
this will affect our business. We do not encourage so many
IDO is gaining a number of new subscribers through a
series of free minute pricing plans. Will you respond with
Tachikawa: We have developed a similar service
already. On July 1 we will offer a new service with more hours
of free minutes.
What levels of churn has NTT DoCoMo been experiencing?
How does NTT DoCoMo plan to retain customers? With such a high
overall market share, is it a case of boosting ARPU rather than
market percentage? How will you continue to improve cost
efficiencies at a faster rate than ARPU declines?
Tachikawa: Churn is a universal problem in the
cellular sector. One thing that we have always done at DoCoMo
is to ensure that the churn rate at DoCoMo has been very low.
We would like to endeavour further to keep the churn rates
lower. But it is very difficult to keep churn low in such a
competitive market. By offering attractive terminals and
attractive services for users, we intend to keep these levels
I would say that the decline in ARPU is partially attributable
to the reduction in tariffs. We have observed another
interesting trend recently: the new subscriber is not
necessarily accounting for less traffic. When a high-school boy
graduates and becomes a university student, this new student
will use mobile phones more frequently than a 30-year old or
40-year old man.
Or rather these kids might use the phones for longer hours at
midnight. So it can also be said that while the minutes of
usage may grow, ARPU will not grow accordingly. If you use the
phone at midnight, it is cheaper. So we analyse these things
very carefully when we reduce our tariffs. In addition, with
better cost efficiency in management of the company, we are
trying to reduce tariff levels.
How are you going to balance the acquisition of new
subscribers with network congestion in Tokyo? How much capacity
do you have left? Will you be able to buy more spectrum?
Tachikawa: We have always struggled to achieve the
best spectrum efficiency. Thanks to these efforts we are ranked
number one in the world in terms of the efficient use of
spectrum. Basically if we have a shortage, we have to obtain
the new spectrum.
In the past when we encountered this problem, we managed to
obtain new spectrum. And that is the basic policy to meet with
the congestion problems as we go forward. But it is also true
that the Japanese government is not so easy to handle on this
issue. Unless we can prove efficient use of spectrum, the
government is not that ready to provide additional spectrum.
It seems likely that a government decision on the
allocation of spectrum could be delayed. Is there a possibility
that the launch of your W-CDMA service could be
Tachikawa: No. I don't think that it will be delayed.
The government position on the allocation of spectrum is that
they would license more spectrum usage, once the ITU standard
had been fixed. The ITU is moving on schedule. So I don't think
that there will be any delay in spectrum allocation.
Do you believe that there will be widespread
consolidation in the Japanese cellular industry over the next
two-three years? Do you see international operators stepping up
their presence in this market?
Tachikawa: On July 1 NTT will undergo restructuring.
To meet this change, the other competitors will have to
restructure and re-organize. I would forecast that operators
that provide only one single service may not survive the
competition in the long term. That was the case for PHS. It is
now becoming a problem for pagers.
And I don't think that such a service would last in the market
without some integration. As I said at the outset, if you want
to survive in the future, you have to consider user benefits by
combining services and offering a diversified menu to users.
It has been reported recently that NTT will sell an
additional stake in DoCoMo, reducing its stake from 67%. How do
you view these rumours?
Tachikawa: The president of NTT has announced that
for the time being they would at least try to retain 50% or
more. And that may be the minimum position for NTT, as it
effects the transition to a new structure, with the holding
company and management of the whole group. So 50% might be the
minimum requirement. It is not up to me to decide whether to
reduce the stake from 67-50%. That is up to NTT.
Currently, you are ranked second to SmarTone in terms
of highest revenue/subscriber. SmarTone has high roaming
revenues. Do you plan to link up with international operators
to provide international roaming services?
Tachikawa: Roaming is just about connecting your
network with another network. This means that the revenue has
to be split. So in that sense I don't think that roaming is
more attractive than the provision of telephone services at
home. So if you want to have a direct boost in revenue, it
might be better to go abroad and provide directly services
International roaming is a very good approach to adopt to
increase traffic. In that sense it is beneficial to both
partners. DoCoMo has already established roaming arrangements
with many parts of the world.
What are your hopes and ambitions for the company over
the next two-three years? What trends do you see emerging in
global wireless communications over this time frame?
Tachikawa: For the coming two or three years, our
objective is to implement smoothly the next generation system
and expand data traffic to 10% of the total, so that we
increase our share of the wireless market.
That would be the springboard for further goals in the future.
If you look at the past five years, market growth was so steep.
Now we are coming to a plateau. But if you do the right thing
over the next two or three years and prepare a good springboard
for the future, you will boost growth over the next 10-15
Globally I think that everybody will be targeting the same
areas. One important thing is that everybody should pursue the
original target: users should be able to use their own phones
wherever they are in the world. I believe that the other
wireless operators are all anticipating the progress of mobile
multi-media. And that is the source of revenue moving forward.