NTT DoCoMo shuffles management, launches global arm

  • NTT DoCoMo Global launched to expand DoCoMo's global presence 

  • The global arm will try to push applications such as Web3-based payments

  • A previous attempt to grow its technology around the world was not successful 

NTT DoCoMo has shuffled its executive team and launched a new global subsidiary, called NTT DoCoMo Global, that is intended to expand DoCoMo’s global presence by pushing a variety of in-house innovations and systems co-developed with partners across the world.

The DoCoMo board has named former senior executive vice president Yoshiaki Maeda as the new president and CEO of the operator. The board has moved several senior executive vice positions around while a couple of senior vice presidents have resigned.

DoCoMo’s Global arm will start in Southeast Asia and North America in the first phase and then move onto Europe and the Middle East after that.

NTT DoCoMo is definitely no stranger to pushing its technology around the world. It tried to make its 2G and 3G i-mode pre-smartphone handset application system popular outside of the domestic Japanese market. That largely didn’t work.

The global arm will try to push applications such as Web3-based payments. While it will try and develop its Open RAN OREX initiative outside of Japan, it will also attempt to extend its global 5G satellite connectivity push – known under the non-terrestrial network (NTN) banner – worldwide.

Becoming a TechCo

“This looks like DoCoMo becoming one of the few telcos to have a separate 'product' business unit, rather than just a global services division or an internal software development initiative. I think that – along with aspects like significant R&D spending – is a mark of a real TechCo rather than just a more-sophisticated telco,” Disruptive Analysis analyst Dean Bubley said on LinkedIn.

“There are three other criteria I’m watching for telcos’ tech arms to demonstrate as well,” Bubley noted. This includes the ability and willingness to do acquisitions, semiconductor expertise (such as holding an ARM license), and owing data centers and cloud platforms. DoCoMo obviously hits it on all of this criteria.

Bubley names Elisa Polystar, Jio Platforms Limited and Rakuten Symphony as other telco arms wading into the techco space. 

Bubley noted that the DoCoMo announcement doesn’t take in its private 5G products. “I'd be curious to know if that still sits inside NTT Data (aimed at enterprise) than DoCoMo Global,” he said. “The exact delineation and any potential politics involved between those two entities will be interesting to watch,” Bubley wrote.

Let's see how the DoCoMo Global arm develops.