Nokia to start Japan cellphone service in 2009-paper

TOKYO, Nov 22 (Reuters) - Nokia Corp NOK1V.HE plans to launch a mobile phone service in Japan next spring, a move expected to intensify competition among Japanese cellphone carriers, Japanese daily Yomiuri Shimbun reported on Saturday.

Finnish cellphone manufacturer Nokia is expected to use lines owned by Japan's biggest mobile phone carrier, NTT Docomo Inc 9437.T, under an arrangement called mobile virtual network operator, the paper said.

Nokia will first offer the service with high-end models to establish a strong brand, Yomiuri said.

Nokia is the world's biggest handset maker but holds less than a 1 percent market share in Japan. Major Japanese cellphone makers, such as Sharp Corp 6753.T, Matsushita Electric Industrial Co Ltd 6752.T and NEC Corp 6701.T, dominate the world's most advanced handset market. (Reporting by Yuzo Saeki; Editing by Ben Tan)