Magazine article Business Asia

Asia Leads in Telco Race

Magazine article Business Asia

Asia Leads in Telco Race

Article excerpt

FORGET WESTERN Europe -- Asia is at the forefront when it comes to the wireless telecoms future, with the region both leading the way technologically and in terms of sheer growth opportunities.

Japan and Korea lead the world in the latest mobile phone services and applications, with both unveiling high speed services months clear of their nearest Western counterparts. And when it comes to new wireless network deployments and future potential for growth, Asia is once again in front, with China on the verge of becoming a bigger mobile phone market than the United States.

Japan, and in particular mobile phone company NTT DoCoMo, is widely recognised as being the pace setter for global mobile development. While carriers around the world have struggled to increase the popularity of data services such as wireless e-mail, news alerts and mobile banking, NTT DoCoMo's i-mode service has attracted almost 25 million users since its introduction in February 1999.

So successful has DoCoMo's i-mode and other services offered by competitors J-Phone and KDDI been that the mobile phone has now overtaken the computer as the most popular way to access the internet.

DoCoMo is also looking to spread its wings into all of Asia. Yoshinori Uda, Head of the company's global business division, said the company "intends to invest about the same amount as we have invested in Europe and the US".

Analysts say the company will probably spend up to US$6 billion ($11.5 billion) in buying shares of other regional operators.

While not getting the same level of international attention as the Japanese, South Korea has been just as active. …

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