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DoCoMo: The Japanese Wireless Telecom Leader

DoCoMo: The Japanese Wireless Telecom Leader
Case Code: BSTR049
Case Length: 17 Pages
Period: 1992 - 2003
Pub Date: 2003
Teaching Note: Available
Price: Rs.500
Organization: NTT DoCoMo (DoCoMo) Inc
Industry: Telecommunication
Countries: Japan
Themes: Differentiation
DoCoMo: The Japanese Wireless Telecom Leader
Abstract Case Intro 1 Case Intro 2 Excerpts

Background Note

DoCoMo's history can be traced back to 1949, when the Ministry of Communication in Japan was split into the Ministry of Telecommunications (MTEL) and Ministry of Posts (MPosts). A few years after its formation, MTEL was renamed as Nippon Telegraph and Telephone (NTT).

NTT operated as a legislative monopoly for telecommunication operations in Japan. The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications acted as a regulatory authority for NTT's operations. According to reports, NTT took all accolades for rebuilding the Japanese telecom infrastructure after the Second World War. NTT ran a monopoly regime in Japan till the 1970s. However, in the 1970s, the Ministry of International Trade and Industry (MITI) began pressurizing the Japanese government to break the NTT's monopoly, claiming that the convergence of communications required the opening up of the regulatory regime in the country. This argument picked up momentum in the 1980s when US politicians also began exerting pressure on Japan to open gates for foreign players.

This was largely because Japanese telecommunications players were free to enter the US telecom market right from the 1970s, while the strict regulatory norms of Japan continued preventing foreign players into Japan.

In the late 1980s, Japan finally decided to reform its telecom regulatory framework to allow the entry of foreign players into Japan's telecom market. To reduce its monopoly in the telecom sector, NTT's mobile communication network was spun-off in 1992 to form DoCoMo (initially named as NTT Mobile Communications Network, Inc.; the name DoCoMo was adopted in 2000). NTT had a 67% majority stake in DoCoMo, while the remaining was held by the public. Kouji Ohboshi (Ohboshi), associate vice president of NTT's Chugoku Telecom division, was made the CEO of DoCoMo. DoCoMo began its operations in July 1992. Having inherited the wireless communication business of NTT, DoCoMo was primarily involved in offering various wireless communication devices and services...

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