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NTT DoCoMo May Freeze Investments

October 30, 2002

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TOKYO (AP) _ Discouraged by the slumping global economy, Japan’s mobile phone leader NTT DoCoMo said Wednesday it may freeze overseas investments.

The announcement comes shortly after the company said it would write off massive losses from international investments in the United States, the Netherlands and Britain, amid an increasingly tough telecommunications market.

DoCoMo spokesman Yoshiki Kono said the company was considering the foreign asset freeze as it battles those losses. But he denied a Wednesday newspaper report that said the decision was already set.

``Freezing overseas investment is one option,″ Kono said. ``We’re considering it.″

The Asahi, a major Japanese daily, reported that the company would halt all foreign investment until there were clear signs of recovery in the global telecommunications market. DoCoMo would instead focus on forming corporate alliances to promote its ``i-mode″ mobile telephone Internet services, the newspaper said.

NTT DoCoMo said in early October it will write off 573 billion yen (US$4.66 billion) in losses on its investments in three major foreign partners: AT&T Wireless in the United States, KPN Mobile N.V. in the Netherlands, and Hutchinson 3G UK Holdings in Britain.

NTT DoCoMo controls 60 percent of Japan’s domestic mobile phone market.

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