US carrier exits Japanese mobile market

US telecom firm NextWave Wireless has decided to sell its stake in IP Mobile, becoming the second foreign firm to exit Japan's competitive mobile telephone industry, an AFP report said.

The report said Japanese real estate group Mori Trust will buy back the stake and again become the largest shareholder in the Tokyo-based cellphone firm.

Last month, NextWave, a supplier of wireless broadband products, technologies and network solutions,  acquired a 69.23 % stake in IP Mobile from Mori Trust, becoming the top shareholder, the AFP report said.

NextWave was only the second foreign firm to enter Japan's mobile telephone market, one of the biggest and most competitive in the world, following in the footsteps of Britain's Vodafone, which also pulled out last year, the report said.

IP Mobile was awarded a cellphone operating licence in November 2005 and was given two years to launch mobile broadband services, the report added.

California-based NextWave has reportedly concluded that it would be difficult to post a profit in the Japanese market, which is dominated by a few major mobile operators, the report said.

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