TOKYO (04/03/2000) - With an eye on acquiring a license for third-generation (3G) cellular services, Japan Telecom Co. Ltd. and its major partners in the domestic cellular business, which include British Telecommunications PLC and Vodafone AirTouch PLC, have restructured their operations.
On Saturday, as the new fiscal year began, they renamed IMT-2000 Planning Co.
Ltd., a joint venture established to lay the groundwork for a license bid, to J-Phone Communications Co. Ltd. Japan Telecom holds a 45.5 percent stake in the company, with Vodafone AirTouch holding 26.0 percent, British Telecom with a 20 percent stake and Nissan Motor Co. with an 8.5 percent share.
Concurrent with the name change, the company also took a controlling interest of approximately 50 percent stake in the J-Phone Group, an existing operator of cellular services in Japan with close ties to Japan Telecom and Vodafone AirTouch.
The move gives the four 3G partners control over Japan Telecom's existing cellular operations and a strong base on which to launch their bid for a license. J-Phone Communications will be responsible for the J-Phone Group's business plan and coordinate nationwide technical planning in addition to financial management, nationwide branding, marketing and communications, and research and development.
With 7.9 million subscribers at the end of February, the J-Phone Group is Japan's second largest cellular operator, according to data from the Telecommunications Carriers Association. Its nearest competitor for second place is the DDI Corp.-affiliated Cellular Group, with 6.1 million subscribers.
Both are well behind NTT DoCoMo Inc., the cellular carrier of Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp., which has 28.5 million subscribers.
Japan Telecom, in Tokyo, can be found online at http://www.japan-telecom.co.jp/