Japan’s predominant mobile phone operator, NTT DoCoMo, announced a partnership with U.S.-based wireless and digital home multimedia software and service firm PacketVideo that will see DoCoMo take a 35 percent stake in the company, a subsidiary of NextWave Wireless. DoCoMo said the $45.5 million, all-cash transaction, effective immediately, is intended to strengthen DoCoMo’s position in advanced music and video services in Japan.
The companies have had a partnership since 1998, enabling PacketVideo’s technologies to be incorporated in multimedia applications for DoCoMo’s FOMA 3G mobile network services. To date, PacketVideo’s CORE multimedia player, pvPlayer, has been installed in more than 90 DoCoMo handset models.
Toshio Miki, associate senior vice president and managing director of communication device development department for NTT DoCoMo, said PacketVideo has been a key supplier of software to DoCoMo and has made important contributions to the success of our services in the Japanese market. “We are pleased to become an equity partner of PacketVideo and are very confident of the company’s continued growth and long-term success,” Miki said.
PacketVideo, formed in 1998, already counts Verizon Wireless and Orange among its customers, as well as all top 10 handset manufacturers. The company’s three major product groups are CORE, which provides a universal structure for mobile multimedia applications, MediaFusion, a white-label client-server software application that enables users to develop and launch on-device portals for rich media services, and PVConnect, which links mobile devices and home entertainment devices.
“We are honored to welcome DoCoMo as an investor. We are building on our unique and highly successful relationship with DoCoMo to further strengthen PacketVideo’s position in developing the best in class media experience, regardless of format or platform,” said PacketVideo CEO James Brailean. “PacketVideo is the global leader in delivering rich media solutions for mobile operators, and DoCoMo’s support will enable us to accelerate our innovation and growth.”
DoCoMo, with more than 53 million customers as of March 2008, represents more than half of Japan’s cellular market. The company provides a wide variety of mobile multimedia services, including i-mode, which provides e-mail and Internet access to more than 50 million subscribers, and Freedom of Mobile Multimedia Access (FOMA), launched in 2001 as the world’s first 3G mobile service based on W-CDMA.
Earlier this month the company announced a mobile remittance service that allows users on DoCoMo’s i-mode mobile Internet service on the FOMA 3G network to transfer money on their phones (up to $208) by inputting the payee’s mobile phone number.