Tokyo NTT DoCoMo Inc. reportedly is near an agreement to buy a stake in AT&T; Wireless Group for $9 billion, giving the Japanese company a foothold in the U.S. mobile phone market while bolstering AT&T;'s shaky financial state.
The deal, which could be announced as early as next week, would give NTT DoCoMo as much as 20 percent ownership of AT&T; Wireless, according to Wednesday's editions of The Wall Street Journal, the Nihon Keizai and the Yomiuri newspapers.
The companies declined to comment on the reports.
NTT DoCoMo is pursuing global alliances to advance its strategy of creating a worldwide 3G cellular phone network, and already has joined two European firms.
In September, NTT DoCoMo and America Online Inc. concluded a $100 million deal that allies the largest mobile-access Internet company in Japan with the world's largest provider of fixed-line Internet services.