Japanese Carrier DoCoMo To Pay $50M To Take A 7% Stake In Pioneer To Expand Its Push Into In-Car Transport Systems

Japanese carrier NTT DoCoMo has announced it plans to invest around $50 million into Japanese digital entertainment company Pioneer Corporation, which makes in-car electronics, to acquire approximately seven per cent of the company. The pair described the investment as “a business and capital alliance” in a press release today. The news was spotted earlier by ZDNet.

Specifically, DoCoMo said it intends to “integrate Pioneer’s in-car navigation telematics technologies and related peripheral development capabilities with [its own] mobile cloud expertise to make a full-scale entry into the field of intelligent transport systems (ITS)”. The pair have previously partnered for the integration of car electronics and information services, including the “Docomo Drive NetTM” navigation service, which incorporates DoCoMo’s smartphones placed in dashboard-mounted cradles, but this latest move pushes DoCoMo deeper into the transport systems space.

The pair said they will jointly develop an ITS, for launch later this year, which will comprise of a platform plus services for consumers and businesses, and also in-car hardware.

Here’s how they describe the plans:

The envisioned in-car ITS system will use probe data gathered from Pioneer’s car-mounted navigation system and DOCOMO smartphones in moving vehicles to process detailed traffic information in Pioneer’s ITS cloud platform. ITS services that integrate this information with various other services will be jointly developed and launched for individual and corporate customers this year.

In addition to developing such services and constructing ITS-related cloud infrastructure, the two companies will develop and sell compatible car-mounted communication devices.

DoCoMo said it will make the investment of about five billion yen (approx. $50 million) through a third-party allocation of new shares to acquire approx. 7% stake in Pioneer this coming June 28.