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NTT, KPN Mobile Said in Talks

May 9, 2000

TOKYO (AP) _ Japanese mobile phone giant NTT DoCoMo Inc. plans to acquire about 15 percent of Dutch cellular phone service company KPN Mobile, a newspaper reported Tuesday.

By teaming up with KPN Mobile, NTT DoCoMo is preparing for a joint bid to take over British cellular phone operator Orange PLC, the Nihon Keizai Shimbun said. KPN Mobile is a subsidiary of major Netherlands telecommunications company Royal KPN NV.

Orange PLC, the third-largest portable phone firm in Britain, was purchased last year by major German communication and machinery maker Mannesmann AG. But Mannesmann later decided to sell Orange PLC over an anti-monopoly issue, the report said.

NTT DoCoMo will spend about $4.63 billion to take a 15-percent stake in KPN Mobile, said the paper, Japan’s leading business daily.

The paper, quoting sources it did not identify, said the companies were in the final stage of negotiations.

Shinichi Ogino, a spokesman for NTT DoCoMo, said he could not immediately confirm the newspaper report.

NTT DoCoMo is part of the part of the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group. NTT is Japan’s largest telecommunications company.

The stake in KPN Mobile will give NTT DoCoMo a platform across Europe and Asia from which it will be able to develop next-generation cellular phone services, known as 3G.

Late last year, NTT DoCoMo acquired a 19-percent stake in Hong Kong’s largest cellular phone company, Hutchison Telephone Co., a unit of Hutchison Whampoa Ltd.

In 2001, NTT DoCoMo will become the first company in the world to roll out high-speed 3G telephone, data transmission and moving picture service in Japan, the daily said. Europe is expected to be the next region to feature the advanced technology, it said.

KPN Mobile, based in the Netherlands, also operates in Belgium, Hungary and other countries, and has a little over 3 million subscribers.

On Monday, Japan’s NTT Communications Corp. announced an agreement Monday to buy Verio Inc., a U.S. Internet service provider and Web hosting company, for more than dlrs 5 billion in cash.

NTT Communications is a long-distance telephone service provider and NTT subsidiary.

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