Chinese, Japanese, South Korean mobile operators form partnership

February 2, 2011

Although politics might be rocky between these three northeast Asian countries, when it comes to mobile operations, China, Japan and South Korea are on the same page. In a recent move, China Mobile, Japan’s NTT DoCoMo and South Korea’s KT have signed a strategic cooperation framework agreement to exploit opportunities of mutual advantage.

According to the KT website, the proposed areas of cooperation among the three companies include voice and data roaming (3G and WiFi) among Korea, China and Japan; service provision to multinational businesses in the three countries; joint research on TD/FDD LTE; cooperation on apps and content areas; joint development of a smart phone service; and platform technology cooperation.

KT proposed that the three companies should cooperate to create the Northeast Asia Free Roaming Area, in which customers will be able to use an inexpensive roaming service by lowering the rate barrier of the voice and data roaming service (3G and WiFi). The three countries currently have 2.8 million roaming customers. DoCoMo had previous business ties with and investments in KT. KT, which had formed an alliance with China Mobile last year, asked DoCoMo to join the partnership. At the end of Q3 2010, China Mobile had 570 million mobile users, DoCoMo had 57 million and KT had 16 million.

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