Cellular Carriers in Japan, China, South Korea to Tie-up

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Three of East Asia's largest cellular carriers plan to work more closely together on issues such as roaming, provision of corporate services and smartphone platforms.

Japan's NTT DoCoMo, South Korea's KT Corp. and China Mobile agreed a "broad-based business tie-up" on Jan. 18, the companies said Wednesday.

Together the three carriers provide service for over 650 million people.

The deal will cover areas including international roaming, network cooperation on LTE (Long Term Evolution) and other services, mobile applications and content, development of smartphone and handset device platforms and a common platform for network-related services such as contactless payment systems, said Naoko Minobe, a spokeswoman for NTT DoCoMo.

The three carriers are already working together in some areas.

NTT DoCoMo holds a 5 percent stake in KT, and last year the South Korean company released a digital photo frame based on technology from DoCoMo. Customers in Japan can also get a KT South Korean cellular number via DoCoMo and take advantage of local call rates when visiting Korea.

KT is currently offering South Korean users the ability to access the Internet from their phones for a fixed rate when roaming on NTT DoCoMo and China Mobile's networks.

Martyn Williams covers Japan and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Martyn on Twitter at @martyn_williams. Martyn's e-mail address is martyn_williams@idg.com

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