Japanese firms team up on $620m WiMAX venture

Japanese ADSL provider Acca Networks signed a WiMAX joint venture NTT DoCoMo, tapping the mobile phone giant's resources to launch ultra high-speed wireless Internet access, a Reuters report said.

The Reuters report said Acca, which is fighting to win new subscribers to its broadband Internet access service, will invest about 30 billion yen in the 72 billion yen ($620 million) venture and hold an over 40% stake.

DoCoMo, Japan's biggest mobile phone operator, would take a 26% stake at 19 billion yen, Acca said.

WiMAX allows high-speed and cheap Internet access and file downloads from laptops, phones or other mobile devices over greater distances than previous technologies.

But in Japan's saturated market, where many users have already switched to advanced 3.5-generation phones and where broadband use is high, WiMAX may be a hard sell, analysts, quoted by the Reuters report, said.

The Reuters report added that Acca is in talks with other firms, including financial companies, its president Masaharu Kimura said earlier this month.

Other Japanese companies interested in WiMAX technology include Softbank, Japan's smallest mobile phone operator, which is looking to form a joint venture with Internet access provider eAccess, the report further said.