DoCoMo has announced that it invested 10 million U.S. dollars to acquire an 11.5 percent stake in Blue Ocean Wireless (BOW), an Irish company providing GSM communication systems to the merchant maritime sector. The acquisition is the latest joint endeavor with its affiliate Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT), including PLDT’s wholly owned mobile subsidiary Smart Communications, Inc. (SMART), one of BOW’s shareholders. As part of the arrangement, DoCoMo intends to assist BOW’s management in adding value to its services for global maritime carriers.
According to the press release BOW provides GSM connectivity for seafarers by setting up satellite antennas, GSM base stations and conversion devices on vessels, which enable users to make and receive voice calls, and send and receive SMS text messages using their existing handsets. DOCOMO believes that BOW’s effective use of bandwidth, low-cost systems and privacy-protection measures give the company distinct competitive advantages over conventional satellite communication services.