BusinessWeek postulates an interesting theory in a recent article about Asian telecom carriers potentially angling for a presence in the U.S. market. The upcoming 700 Mhz auction is seen as a catalyst for this renewed interest in the U.S. market. Masaki Yoshikawa tells Businessweek.com, “Google is trying to acquire spectrum now. Maybe they will be looking for a partner for their network,” stressing that no talks have been held by the companies. “Perhaps we can be involved in the process.” NTT DoCoMo joins other potentially interested Asian carriers, including KDDI, and SKTelecom. The potential investment from these carriers could have interesting implications on the U.S. telecom competitive landscape.
Asian carriers are no stranger to U.S. investment. NTT DoCoMo was a large investor in AT&T Wireless years ago, which they sold at a significant loss. South Korea’s SKTelecom partnered with Earthlink to launch Helio, which they now control. The thinking is that Asian carriers bring a wealth of experience already in the future of the U.S. mobile wireless industry, namely data services. BusinessWeek reports that up to 90% of consumers in some Asian countries subscribe to wireless data plans, vs. 54% in the U.S., according to consultancy IDC. If Asian carriers bring that expertise to the U.S. through partnering with the likes of a Google or someone else, they may prove to be formidable competitors to existing U.S. market carriers. I’m certainly not suggesting a “slam dunk” with such an arrangement, but the possibilities do seem enticing.
Check out more insight on this at FierceWireless.