TOKYO (AP) _ Telecommunications company DDI Corp. said Tuesday that it is studying future ties with cellular-phone service provider IDO Corp., but denied a report that it is in the final stages of merger negotiations.

DDI's comments came after the Nihon Keizai Shimbun reported in its Tuesday morning edition that DDI, a long-distance telephone carrier, is finalizing negotiations with IDO to merge next April.

``We are studying our future course, but nothing has been decided beyond that,'' DDI said in a brief statement.

Trading of DDI shares was briefly halted on the Tokyo Stock Exchange Tuesday morning amid the merger rumors.

The merged company would rack up consolidated revenues of $15 billion, making it second largest telecommunications group after the Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. group, according to the Nikkei report.

The report said the two telecommunications companies commenced full-scale negotiations this summer.

The surviving company after the planned merger would be DDI, in which Kyocera Corp., currently in possession of a 25 percent DDI stake, will be the leading shareholder with a stake of more than 20 percent.

Toyota Motor Corp., the largest shareholder in IDO, will become the second largest after Kyocera, the report said.

DDI said it has good business relationship with Toyota and IDO. DDI and IDO jointly provide digital cellular-phone service.