Background of NTT's decision-Can it be done?

Game change-October 23, 19:21

"Make a game change in the global telecommunications industry."

President Jun Sawada, who decided to make DoCoMo a wholly owned subsidiary as the head of NTT while a huge IT company has an overwhelming influence on services related to the Internet, talked about his strong determination to turn around in our interview. It was.

What was behind the decision to spend a huge amount of more than 4 trillion yen?

Will our lives be more convenient, or will mobile phone charges be cheaper?

We approached the aim of the decision and the outlook for the future.

(Reporter, Ministry of Economic Affairs, Daisuke Esaki, Hiroki Okaya)

“I can't get out of the telecommunications industry”

"I want to strengthen DoCoMo, and as a result, the NTT Group will also become stronger. That is the biggest purpose."

Approximately two weeks after NTT announced that it would make DoCoMo a wholly owned subsidiary, President Sawada said in an interview with us.

DoCoMo spun off from NTT in 1992 and was listed on the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange in 1998, but purchased approximately 34% of DoCoMo's shares held by individual investors and financial institutions through a takeover bid (TOB). I will.

President Sawada's "sense of crisis" is behind the heavy decision to invest a huge amount of 4,250 billion yen.

Although there are differences in business areas, NTT DoCoMo is in third place in operating revenue compared to its rivals KDDI and Softbank.

The number of contractors moving to other companies is also increasing.

In order to overcome this situation, it is essential for the group to come together to speed up decision-making and to operate mobile and fixed communications as a set.

Not only that.

In recent years, as the fusion of telecommunications and IT progresses, giant IT companies such as GAFA are planning to launch communication satellites and lay submarine cables, and are invading the global telecommunications industry.

We recognize that if we keep our hands on it, we may be forced out of the industry.

President Sawada

"GAFA has economies of scale, so the system that we have started globally will become the standard. It is difficult to win when we take the initiative and compete. Not only will it be used for GAFA, we will have to leave. It can be a structure that shouldn't be done. There is only new technology to counter this. "

Game change with "optical technology"

After making DoCoMo a wholly owned subsidiary, the group's research and development will be concentrated, and President Sawada's aim is to rewind "next to 5G."

President Sawada

"I think that the technology of the new paradigm is" optical technology ". I want to change the game by incorporating this."

NTT is currently promoting the concept of a next-generation network called "IOWN" (Innovative Optical and Wireless Network) centered on its strength of "optical technology."

The basic communication line already uses optical fiber to communicate with "light", but IOWN also uses "light" for information transmission and processing to the terminal at hand.

If realized, the transmission capacity will be 125 times, and 10,000 movies of 2 hours can be downloaded while blinking.

In addition, the delay is 1/200 and the power efficiency is 100 times, that is, the power consumption is 1/100.

It can be said that there is a paradigm shift in communication.

He says this will bring dramatic changes to his life and business.

For example, in the field of autonomous driving, it is necessary to instantly recognize, judge, and control the movement of a large number of vehicles, but in urban areas with heavy traffic, with the current technology, there is a delay of at least 7 seconds even if 5G is used. Is to occur.

By using IOWN, information can be transmitted and processed without delay, and traffic without congestion or accidents can be realized.

In the field of agriculture as well, in the future we aim to enable "smart agriculture" that controls thousands of tractors throughout Hokkaido, which will help solve the labor shortage.

In addition, IOWN's technology called "digital twin computing" has great potential.

Based on the idea of ​​creating "digital twins", it is a technology that can convert real people and things into data, reproduce it realistically in cyberspace, and simulate it, thereby predicting the future in cyberspace and solving current problems. I'm trying to make use of it.

In the medical field as well, we would like to realize "predictive medical care" that grasps the health condition in the near future and the risk of illnesses that may occur in the future based on data such as lifestyle, eating habits, and preferences.

President Sawada

"It is important to be able to change the game or take the initiative by accelerating research and development from now on. We are moving with the intention of thinking about the world on the ground."

The goal of commercialization of IOWN is 2030.

We are already collaborating with more than 30 companies around the world, such as Intel and Sony, to accelerate research toward practical application.

Mobile phone price cut "Synergistic effect gives you extra capacity"

On the other hand, President Sawada talked about the reduction of mobile phone charges required by the government as follows.

President Sawada

"First of all, we are considering making DoCoMo a wholly owned subsidiary from this April, and the purpose is not to reduce the price. However, customers are demanding cheap and good services. By making it a wholly owned subsidiary, There will be a synergistic effect by collaborating with group companies. It will be true that the synergistic effect will give us the capacity to reduce prices. "

DoCoMo responded that it will consider the specific amount and timing of price reductions in consideration of future cost reductions.

As it becomes clear that Softbank is considering introducing a new rate plan with a large capacity of less than 5,000 yen, it will be interesting to see what countermeasures DoCoMo will take.

DoCoMo's "i-mode" was the world's first Internet connection service from mobile phones, but as the era of smartphones changed, the so-called "Galapagos" of terminals and business models became a stumbling block, and it was not possible to continue to take the initiative. I could not do it.

The word "game change" made me feel the strong determination of President Sawada to regain the initiative.

As Japanese companies take on the challenge of DX = digital transformation, which transforms their business from the ground up with digital technology, the telecommunications industry, which is the foundation of digital technology, is now becoming more and more important for raising the level of Japanese industry. ..

The question is whether we can lead the world without becoming Galapagos again.

Reporter of the Ministry of Economic Affairs

Daisuke Esaki

Joined in 2003

After working at the Miyazaki Bureau, the Ministry of Economic Affairs, and the Takamatsu Bureau, information and communication / electric caps from this summer

Economy reporter

Okaya Hongji

2013. He joined

the current affiliation through the Kumamoto stations

responsible for the information and communications industry from this summer