KDDI, the second-biggest mobile phone operator in Japan after NTT DoCoMo Inc. (9437.T), aims to cater to mainly Japanese customers in the United States, a spokesman said.
Tokyo-based KDDI will offer services using CDMA standard, developed by Qualcomm Inc (QCOM.O), and adopted by U.S. carriers such as Verizon (VZ.N) and Sprint Nextel. That is different to the W-CDMA standard of technology popular in Europe and Asia.
Japanese operators have been eyeing new sources of revenue abroad as they expect slower subscriber growth in the saturated home market.
In 2001, DoCoMo invested about $10 billion in AT&T (T.N) at the height of the Internet and telecom bubble, but later ended up booking huge losses from stakes in overseas operators.
Tokyo-based DoCoMo has since shifted its strategy to holding minority stakes in Asian carriers to expand in international roaming and help procure handsets more cheaply.
The Asahi newspaper said KDDI aimed for a full U.S. roll-out by the middle of this month, offering phones made by makers such as Sanyo Electric 6764.T under the KDDI Mobile brand.