TOKYO Google Inc's (GOOG.O) search engine will
feature on NTT DoCoMo Inc (9437.T) handsets, giving it access
to 48 million new mobile Internet users in Japan in its push
for overseas growth.
DoCoMo, Japan's largest mobile operator, said on Thursday
the tie-up on Internet searches, e-mail and other services,
will help it retain users in a competitive market and raise
advertisement revenue while cutting development costs.
The two firms, which also plan to launch a Linux-based
mobile handset in Japan, aim to reap joint advertising revenues
of 10 billion yen "as soon as possible," they said, without
disclosing how they plan to split revenues.
"Japan's mobile Internet services lead the world," DoCoMo
senior Vice President Takeshi Natsuno said at a news
conference. "It's no wonder that big U.S. companies are paying
attention to Japan."
Google has already partnered with Japan's No. 2 mobile
phone company KDDI Corp (9433.T). DoCoMo and KDDI together
control over 80 percent of Japan's mobile market.
Cheaper data-transmission charges are prompting mobile
operators to team up with search engines, rather than
developing content on their own.
Softbank Corp (9984.T), the No. 3 mobile phone company,
works with Yahoo Japan Corp (4689.T), in which Softbank holds a
40 percent stake.
Under Thursday's agreement, DoCoMo handsets will provide
Google search results for mobile and PC Websites via the
top-page of its Internet portal site.
The two firms will discuss ways to make it easier for
DoCoMo users to access Gmail, the video-sharing site YouTube,
and Picasa Web albums, they said.
Shares of DoCoMo closed up 3.2 percent at 161,000 yen,
compared with a 2.1 percent rise in the benchmark Nikkei
(Additional reporting, writing by Mayumi Negishi)