NTT Docomo is considering M&A deals outside Japan, as it seeks to match domestic rival SoftBank which is on the cusp of acquiring US operator Sprint, reports the Financial Times.
Docomo’s dealmaking history is not a happy one. Between 1980 and 2001, it spent on minority stakes in international peers such as AT&T and KPN but eventually booked significant losses on their disposal.
However, more recent foreign excursions have concentrated on smaller, content-focused ventures, such as net mobile in Germany and Italy’s Buongiorno.
Chairman and CEO Kaoru Kato said the primary focus for any new deals would be Asia Pacific, although Europe would also be a possibility.
However, the company is current facing a struggle in India where Tata Teleservices, in which it holds a stake, is having a hard time gaining market share.
Kato has also talked about the operator’s domestic plans for its content services, according to the Nikkei. It is prepared to open its internet-based services to all mobile subscribers, not just its own.
Docomo’s content market website offers music, video, games and apps to users. At present, this content is only available to its own subscribers who pay via their subscriptions. But it plans to make the same content more broadly available by accepting other forms of payment, including credit cards.