BT seizes slice of Japanese market

British giant and US partner steal march on rivals as battle develops for global domination

BRITISH TELECOM and its global partner AT&T will announce today that they are buying 30 per cent of Japan Telecom for 180bn ($1.5bn) in the first big foreign investment in Japan's telecommunications industry.

BT and AT&T, America's largest long-distance telephone operator, will each buy 15 per cent of Japan Telecom, the country's fourth-biggest phone operator. The deal will give BT a slice of the second-biggest phone market in the world after the US, giving the British company a head start over its European rivals in the region.

Entry into Japan's $108bn (pounds 68bn) annual telephone services market will give the partners an edge over America's MCI World-Com, Germany's Deutsche Telekom - which this week announced plans to merge with Telecom Italia - and others considering moves in Japan.

"This means a lot to AT&T and BT," said Yoshio Ando, analyst at Nomura Securities. "They must have access to Japan to serve multinational companies. And the alliance will help Japan Telecom improve its corporate identity as a global carrier."

Last week, the UK's Cable & Wireless, the rival cable and telephony group, made a new bid to buy International Digital Communications, a Japanese provider of international telephone services. Nippon Telegraph & Telephone is also bidding to buy IDC.

The Japan Telecom deal will also enable BT and AT&T to participate in Japan's next generation of mobile phone services, which Japan Telecom is developing with Nissan Motors and AirTouch Communications, the largest American mobile phone company.

The venture, called IMT-2000 Planning, in which Japan Telecom has a 40 per cent stake, needs as much as 600bn to start the new phone services, Japan Telecom said in December. IMT-2000 Planning is now capitalised at just 200m.

Growth in Japan's telecommunications market will be led by data transmission, especially through mobile phones, according to analysts.

NTT Mobile Communications Network, Japan's largest mobile phone company, is expected to be the world's first mobile operator to introduce the next generation standard, which allows data and image transmission at much faster speeds.

AT&T is involved in a venture with 25 Japanese corporations, including KDD, Fujitsu and Hitachi, to offer internet access and other services to business. AT&T Jens, formed in 1994, was Japan's first commercial internet service provider.

BT already has a licence to provide phone services in Japan, through a joint venture called BT Communications Services with Marubeni, a Japanese trading company. Under the brand name Harmonix, the company started offering international direct phone services this month. BT is also building a fibre-optic network and also has licenses to offer wireless local phone services in Tokyo, Osaka and Nagoya.

Japan has long been a hole in BT's portfolio and is a key market in the quest to build a truly global alliance with AT&T. But some analysts have argued that Japan Telecom is too small and BT and AT&T should be setting their sights higher.

"They need to pick up a big player which would give them access to large Japanese multinationals," said John Matthews, principal consultant at analysts Ovum. "A deal with NTT or KDD would be a big prize."

Life and Style
life
News
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reportedly married in secret on Saturday
peopleSpokesperson for couple confirms they tied the knot on Saturday after almost a decade together
Life and Style
Chen Mao recovers in BK Hospital, Seoul
health
News
Joan Rivers has reportedly been hospitalised after she stopped breathing during surgery
people81-year-old 'stopped breathing' during vocal chord surgery
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn evocation of the conflict through the eyes of those who lived through it
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Diana from the Great British Bake Off 2014
tvProducers confirm contestant left because of illness
Arts and Entertainment
Lisa Kudrow, Courtney Cox and Jennifer Anniston reunite for a mini Friends sketch on Jimmy Kimmel Live
tv
Life and Style
fashion

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs Money & Business

Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, UI, JMX, FIX)

Negotiable: Harrington Starr: Client-Side web developer (JQuery, Javascript, U...

Structured Finance

Highly Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: CITY - An excellent new instruction w...

SQL Server Developer

£500 per day: Harrington Starr: SQL Server Developer SQL, PHP, C#, Real Time,...

C#.NET Developer

£600 per day: Harrington Starr: C#.NET Developer C#, Win Forms, WPF, WCF, MVVM...

Day In a Page

Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

The phoney war is over

Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

Salomé: A head for seduction

Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

British Library celebrates all things Gothic

Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

In search of Caribbean soul food

Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
11 best face powders

11 best face powders

Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

America’s new apartheid

Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone