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DoCoMo Bails Out of UMTS in UK

Posted on Thursday 27 May 2004

NTT DoCoMo ended months of speculation by today selling its 20% stake in Hutchison Whampoa’s UMTS network in the UK for £120M. Outgoing DoCoMo CEO Keiji Tachikawa confirmed DoCoMo’s intent to leave the partnership earlier this month, saying, ” “Hutchison Whampoa can do it alone. It is time to consider whether we should keep our investment in Hutchison 3G or not. So, [pulling out] is an option.” Most industry observers believe that the relationship between two companies has soured over 3’s having balked at launching iMode in the UK and Hutchison’s having insisted that DoCoMo loan 3 £200M a year ago; a similar cash called forced KPN Mobile from the partnership last summer.

Under the terms of the sale Hutchison will pay DoCoMo in three installments (quite a coincidental number, wouldn’t you agree?) of either cash or shares in another of Hutch’s telecom subsidiaries, depending on that share price. Hutchison will also repay DoCoMo for the £200M loan through yet another telecom subsidiary.

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