See latest coverage here:

NTT to make NTT Docomo wholly owned unit through tender offer

TOKYO - Nippon Telegraph and Telephone Corp. is planning to turn Japan's largest mobile carrier NTT Docomo Inc. into a wholly-owned company through a takeover bid, sources close to the matter said Monday.

NTT is considering acquiring about 30 percent of NTT Docomo shares owned by individual shareholders for some 4 trillion yen ($37.9 billion) to put the company under full control, the sources said.

The telecom giant is expected to announce the plan soon.

Photo taken in Tokyo on March 25, 2020, shows NTT Docomo Inc.'s new 5G smartphones. Japan's largest mobile carrier launched its superfast 5G smartphone service the same day. (Kyodo)

As Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga is pushing for lower smartphone service fees and telecom companies are vying to adopt future-generation "5G" networks, NTT aims to build effective management in the mobile carrier group.

After the takeover, NTT Docomo would be delisted from the First Section of the Tokyo Stock Exchange, the sources said.

By turning NTT Docomo into a wholly-owned company, NTT would be able to book all profits stemming from the mobile carrier. NTT has launched smartphones ready for 5G networks.

File photo taken Nov. 7, 2018, in Tokyo's Shinjuku Ward shows the logos of Japan's three major mobile phone companies -- NTT Docomo Inc., KDDI Corp., the operator of "au" services, and SoftBank Corp. (Kyodo)

NTT posted a net profit of 855.3 billion yen in the business year through March, up 0.1 percent from a year earlier, on revenues of 11.9 trillion yen, up 0.2 percent.

Amid intensifying competition with rival firms at home and abroad, NTT announced in June a capital tie-up with NEC Corp. to collaborate in the field of high-speed 5G networks.

NTT Docomo had about 80 million subscribers as of June 30. In the business year through March, the mobile carrier saw both its net profit and sales decline from a year before.

NTT Docomo was launched in 1992 as NTT spun off its mobile and pager businesses under a government initiative aimed at promoting deregulation in the telecom industry.