DoCoMo and Vodafone spar over 3G future
By Staff and reports
TOKYO, Japan (CNN) -- Japan's NTT DoCoMo and Britain's Vodafone sparred over the fate of third-generation (3G) services as DoCoMo nears its launch of the world's first commercial service.
DoCoMo president Keiji Tachikawa told the Financial Times that European carriers did not understand the appropriate business model for data services.
"It is important to figure out how to develop attractive content and convince content providers to do so. Western (operators) still don't understand that very well," said the DoCoMo head.
Vodafone fires back
Japan's leading mobile carrier plans to launch the world's first fully commercialized 3G service on October 1.
But Vodafone chief executive Sir Christopher Gent told the Financial Times he is skeptical about DoCoMo's upcoming 3G commercial service launch.
"Three cheers for DoCoMo if they manage to get the service open (but) I think it's unlikely to be a full commercial service," said Gent.
Over the last year, Vodafone has been moving aggressively into Japan, the second-largest telecom market in the world and active testing ground of cutting-edge, next generation mobile services.
Last week, the British mobile heavyweight agreed to pay $2.7 billion in cash to take control of Japan Telecom, Japan's third largest telecom firm.
Vodafone has been eager to increase its stake in J-Phone, Japan Telecom's wireless unit, to better take on NTT DoCoMo.
On Thursday, West Japan Railway (JR West) said it would sell its 1.6 percent stake in Japan Telecom to Vodafone.
Three regional operators in the J-Phone group will be consolidated in November and J-Phone plans to launch 3G services next June.
The fate of Japan Telecom's fixed line business has been vague since Vodafone launched its bid to take control of the firm.
Britain's Observer newspaper said on Sunday that Vodafone was planning to sell Japan Telecom's fixed-line arm for up to $4.4 billion.
Vodafone has denied the report.
"We have no plans to sell Japan Telecom's fixed business for three billion or any other number," Chris Gent told a news conference.
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