DoCoMo - The Japanese Wireless Telecom Leader



Themes: Differentiation
Period : 1992 - 2003
Organization : NTT DoCoMo (DoCoMo) Inc
Pub Date : 2003
Countries : Japan
Industry : Telecommunication

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Case Code : BSTR049
Case Length : 17 Pages
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DoCoMo - The Japanese Wireless Telecom Leader | Case Study

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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.

The initial product portfolio of DoCoMo included mobile phones, car phones, maritime phones, in-flight phones and pagers. DoCoMo formulated its policies in line with this corporate philosophy of creating a new communications culture (Refer Table I for DoCoMo's basic management policies).


Basic management policies of DoCoMo, based on its corporate philosophy included -

• Expanding its businesses while contributing to the realizing of a rich and dynamic society
• Emphasizing and strengthening DoCoMo's existing core business of voice communication services
• Assertively promoting mobile multimedia services among the public

While pursuing these goals, DoCoMo intended to maximize its enterprise value and gain confidence from its customers and shareholders.


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