Taiwanese mobile operator to license i-Mode service

Taiwanese mobile operator KG Telecommunications Co. Ltd. plans to roll out a wireless service in mid-2002 based on technology from NTT DoCoMo Inc.'s popular i-Mode service, the companies announced in a statement released on Monday.

NTT DoCoMo will license technology and provide know-how to introduce the service over KG Telecom's GPRS (General Packet Radio Service) network for i-Mode HTML/WML (HyperText Mark-up Language/Wireless Mark-up Language) dual-browser handsets, the statement said . DoCoMo will also provide KG Telecom with consulting services for a business plan feasibility study, server and terminal development, marketing, portal management, content development and customer care, it said.

In return, DoCoMo will receive fees from KG Telecom for the license and services, the statement said.

The announcement that KG Telecom will license i-Mode technology from DoCoMo came as the Japanese operator said it would purchase additional shares in the Taiwanese company.

KG Telecom hopes to raise more than NT$5.6 billion (US$163.4 million) by issuing 187,332,096 new shares at the end of June. The shares will be offered at NT$30 each. DoCoMo, which became KG Telecom's second-largest shareholder with the purchase in December 2000 of a 20 percent stake in the company for NT$17.08 billion, plans to buy as much as 62,360,884, or roughly one-third, of the new shares in a deal that could be worth up to NT$1.87 billion, the statement said.

Monday's announcement marks the second move by NTT DoCoMo to boost its holdings in regional telecom players. In May, the company announced plans to acquire an additional 6.37 percent stake in Hong Kong-based Hutchison Telephone Co. Ltd. in a bid by the two companies to speed the deployment of mobile Internet services in Hong Kong. That deal, worth US$30.4 million, raised NTT DoCoMo's stake in Hutchison Telephone to 25.37 percent.