The Washington Post is reporting that The Carlyle Group suffered a $330 million loss Thursday when a Japanese mobile phone company in which it had a big interest filed for bankruptcy protection, the second time in a little more than a year that Carlyle has taken a hit in the highly volatile telecommunications field.
Tuesday May 19th saw a double-shot of new handset series announcements with flashy press conferences held by both DoCoMo and SoftBank Mobile (KDDI will announce next week). Leading the pack with six new units from Sharp, including the Solar Hybrid and unique Mirumo models, the energetic third place operator introduced 15 new handsets in total. The rest of their new line-up, due to hit the street over the next few months, come from NEC (3), Panasonic (2), Toshiba (1) and Samsung with the final trio including their OMNIA smart phone – targeted at girls! – and a branded Armani device. You can watch the presentation – 90mins run time in English – online video Here.
The World Economic Forum has named Japan-based Mobile Healthcare, and it’s Lifewatcher product, as a 2009 Technology Pioneer [.PDF]. The company, which develops real-time mobile health solutions for preventing and managing diabetes, obesity and other lifestyle-related illnesses became one of the 34 technology visionaries – full list Here – to be honoured at the 2009 World Economic Forum. The honourees, each recognized as being at the forefront of technology and innovation, were selected by the Forum from 320 finalists from around the world through a stringent review process by a 44-strong team of global experts.
According to this post on Bloomberg a few hours ago, DoCoMo is preparing to announce they will take a stake in Tata Teleservices. A company official, who asked not to be identified, is quoted as stating “The board approved the investment today” but declined to provide the size of investment, which the Nikkei Net Interactive site reported at 260 billion yen ($2.7 billion) for a 26 percent stake. If this happens – which seems quite possible – it would represent their largest overseas investment since the AT&T adventure back in 2000. This could be rather interesting 😎 Update: It’s Official
DoCoMo, Renesas, Fujitsu and Sharp announced that they plan to jointly develop the SH-Mobile G4 single-chip LSI device, and a platform incorporating it, to support the HSUPA1/HSDPA2/W-CDMA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE (2G) mobile telephony standards. DoCoMo and Renesas began joint development work in 2004 on the SH-Mobile G series of single-chip LSI devices, which integrate a baseband processor that supports dual-mode communication and an application processor. The SH-Mobile G4 will be the fourth product to emerge from this collaboration.
According to JiJi Press, NEC has announced it will cooperate with Telecom Italia in the field of broadband and wireless communications technologies. By the end of next March, NEC plans to set up a facility in Italy to introduce state-of-the-art communications technologies and conduct connection tests. Through the tie-up, NEC will aim to win contracts to supply communications equipment to Rome-based Telecom Italia, the leading telecommunications service provider in Italy, and carriers in other European nations and Latin American countries which are affiliated with the Italian firm.
Tokyo-based Mobile Content Networks (MCN), has announced that its popular mobile content merchandising program, allwords, is launching globally following its success in Japan since launching earlier this year. Initial allwords(sm) distribution partners will include Thailand’s AIS, DTAC, and TrueMove, Avea of Turkey, Scandinavia’s Tele2, and myGamma.com, BuzzCity’s fast growing mobile social network. MCN also confirmed that it will roll-out allwords in the U.S. as part of a commercial trial it is conducting with a leading mobile operator.
How about that, this article via AP indicates the Japanese government is gearing up to help the domestic mobile industry push into new markets. According to the blurb: Details and budget plans for the government effort are being outlined in the next few months, but a proposal was approved at a ministry meeting last month. It will be interesting to see how this effort develops, especially considering the recent moves by GSMA. Perhaps your humble scribs here will get a call from the ministry since we have been covering this fascinating story for the last 7 years now!
NTT DoCoMo released it’s first quarter earnings for this fiscal year showing a mixed bag of results. While the YoY net income is up from $1.2B to a healthy $1.7B, attributed in part to cost cutting on handset subsidies, the blended ARPU indicates a continued downward trend due to increased competition. Full details [.PDF in English] are available Here.
Tokyo-based Mobile Content Networks announced that Nokia’s WidSets service has selected its white label platform, MobileSearch.net, to power WidSets Search for its millions of mobile users. According to the press release, WidSets Search will allow users to effectively find new widgets, providing a short description and view of the widget for immediate download. WidSets Search has launched in Finland and will be rolled out to European and global users as part of the global WidSets initiative.