NTT DoCoMo, Japans No 1 mobile phone operator, and Rakuten, a leading internet mall operator, have announced a joint venture in internet auctions to take on market leader Yahoo in Japan.
Rakuten will spin off their internet auction venture and set up a new company called Rakuten Auction. NTT DoCoMo will then pay $36.8M for a 40% share in this entity.
The JV is aimed at increasing auction transactions on mobile phones. This proves that as 3G is rolled out mobile phone operators are having to work increasingly hard to try and stimulate internet useage on mobile handsets, which is still low.
The question is, will the mobile phone operators have to increasingly create and invest in mobile applications and content services directly to ensure success and higher revenues with 3G?