Hutchison Whampoa, the majority share holder in 3, and Japanese operator NTT DoCoMo yesterday announced an agreement to co-operate in the development and promotion of 3G services.
The agreement comes hot on the heels of the announcement two weeks ago that NTT DoCoMo would provide a £200m sterling (€289m) loan to 3 UK. The company holds a 20pc stake in 3 UK and a 24.1pc stake in Hutchison 3G HK (Hong Kong) Holdings Limited.
Along with Vodafone and O2, 3 is one of Ireland’s 3G licence holders. The company also has 3G licences in eight other countries, including the UK.
This agreement initially unites the research and marketing capabilities of two of Hutchison Whampoa’s nine 3G operations, in Hong Kong and the UK, with those of NTT DoCoMo, whose FOMA service in Japan was the world’s first commercial 3G service when it launched in October 2001.
Under the agreement, the two will share information on handset development, radio network architecture and the development of global 3G standards. Additionally both companies will jointly examine potential areas of co-operation in the creation of multimedia applications, in international 3G roaming and in corporate sales and systems solutions.
By Dick O’Brien