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SAIPAN, CNMI (Marianas Variety, August 3) – The government of Guam’s support for the entry of NTT DoCoMo into the Marianas market is now official as no less than Gov. Felix Camacho has given his endorsement to the Japanese telecommunications giant.

In a letter to the Federal Communications Commission, the governor said he is supporting DoCoMo’s proposed acquisition of Guam Cellular and Paging and Guam Wireless Telephone Company.

[PIR editor’s note: NTT DoCoMo is a Japan-based telecommunications firm which, in 1999, introduced i-mode, an internet-based service platform that supports many types of communications and browsing options. The service now has about 46 million subscribers and over 95,000 internet sites.]

"As you know, telecommunications plays a critical role in our economic development. NTT DoCoMo’s financial strength and technological expertise will directly benefit our island citizens through the advanced service and latest equipment in the Guam wireless industry," Camacho stated in his letter.

He pointed out that NTT DoCoMo is a world leader in wireless communications, particularly in the area of advanced services and technologies, and that his administration would welcome DoCoMo’s investment in the Guam market, with the expectation that Guam residents would benefit from the company’s investment and expertise.

The governor also noted that NTT DoCoMo’s investment in the island’s telecommunication infrastructure will likewise benefit Guam’s tourism industry.

"We had over 1.2 million visitors to Guam last year, the majority from Japan. A strong telecommunications network will continue to make Guam an attractive tourist destination, which in turn will help make our economy grow. Thus, not only will citizens benefit from the increased access to advanced services and technologies, they will also benefit from a stronger economy for Guam as well," Camacho stressed.

The Guam Visitors Bureau has already submitted its own letter of support for the DoCoMo deal, also pointing out that Guam relies heavily on the Japan market, which makes up about 80 percent of the island’s visitors.

If its petition is approved, DoCoMo plans to introduce its popular I-mode service on Guam and this would enable the thousands of Japanese tourists who visit the island to keep in touch with their homeland.

GVB general manager Gerald S.A. Perez said the entry of DoCoMo into the Guam market would be of great benefit to the local economy because it will facilitate tourist convenience and help sustain the growth of Guam’s top tourism market.

DoCoMo is currently seeking approval from the FCC of its March purchase of Guam Cellular and Paging, Saipan Cellular and Paging, and Guam Wireless Telephone Company, which does business on Guam and Saipan as Hafa Tel.

Guam-based local exchange carrier GTA, in its position paper submitted to the FCC, has opposed DoCoMo’s petition, stating that DoCoMo’s entry into the Guam market presents a risk to national security in light of the build-up of military forces on Guam.

[PIR editor’s note: Early last month, the Guam Visitors Bureau expressed its support for the firm, saying it would contribute to the Japanese tourism industry on the island.]

August 3, 2006

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