Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corporation (NTT) is one of the largest phone companies in the world, mostly serving Japan, with approximately 54 million fixed-line customers and 51 million wireless subscribers. The company was formed in 1952 by the Japanese government and until 1985 was the only domestic telecom carrier in Japan. Although the Japanese telecom market has been open to competitors over the past decade, NTT remains the technology and market leader. Currently, the Japanese government owns 33.78% of NTT, and is required by law to own at least 33%.
In July 1999, NTT was reorganized into a holding company structure with five principal operating subsidiaries NTT East, NTT West, NTT Communications, NTT Data and NTT DoCoMo. NTT East operates the fixed-line telecom business located primarily in the Tokyo region. Similarly, NTT West provides services primarily in the southern and western areas of Japan. NTT Communications is responsible for the company's long distance and international phone businesses, while NTT Data is a 54%-owned publicly traded subsidiary, marketing data communication services, including systems integration and network management. NTT DoCoMo is the mobile phone unit in which NTT has a 60% ownership position.
In addition to its Japanese operations, NTT (through its subsidiaries) has investments in a number of international telecom operators, both fixed and wireless. These include fixed line operations in Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Hong Kong, the Philippines and Australia a 2% stake in KPN Mobile (the wireless subsidiary of Netherlands-based Royal KPN) a 20% interest in 3GUK (a third generation, or 3G, wireless operator in the U.K. which is jointly owned with partners Hutchison Whampoa and KPN Mobile) and a 21% interest in KGT (a Taiwanese wireless operator). The company also owns Verio, a U.S.-based provider of web hosting and other Internet data services.