DoCoMo outlines European 3G plans

Coming soon to a videophone near you...

Coming soon to a videophone near you...

NTT DoCoMo will rollout its 3G mobile phone service in Europe in the second half of 2002. The Japanese mobile operator said it expects Hong Kong-based Hutchison Whampoa to begin the services. DoCoMo owns a 20 per cent stake in Whampoa subsidiary Hutchison 3G, making it the company's second largest European investment. DoCoMo CEO Keiji Tachikawa said: "I believe Hutchison 3G will be the front runner for the start of 3G services in Europe." He added that following Japan, Europe will be the next territory to receive 3G services. The US will follow in 2003. DoCoMo has invested heavily in European phone companies, spending around Y600bn ($5bn) and a further Y1.1tr (£9.1bn) in AT&T Wireless Services. Delays in awarding Asian licences have in turn delayed DoCoMo's investment plans in the area, although it has purchased stakes in Hutchison Telephone (the wireless unit of Whampoa) and KG Telecommunications, Taiwan's third largest mobile phone operator. DoCoMo began offering its Foma 3G mobile devices on Monday in Tokyo to provide users with phones 40 times faster than regular mobiles, and far more fun. While the Foma videophone has sold out and been reordered in many shops, phone sales are slower than anticipated.