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eAccess to attain AOL Japan's ISP business

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MUMBAI: Japan's eAccess Ltd said on 17 May that it will buy AOL Japan's Internet service operations for 2.1 billion yen ($18.33 million). This move marks the wholesale Internet provider's foray into the retail business.

AOL has exited the Japanese market after an eight-year effort, selling its operations for less than a tenth of what has been invested in it.

The unit, which was formerly DoCoMo AOL, used to be a joint venture between the world's largest media company and NTT DoCoMo Inc, Japan's largest mobile operator.

A media report said that DoCoMo pulled out of the business last November after it failed to attract customers. The two companies initially intended to provide a new service linking personal computers and cell phones over the Internet.

The sale of the Internet service business to eAccess, which provides broadband ADSL (asymmetric digital subscriber line) services, means AOL Japan will no longer own any operations in Japan.

However, one media report said that eAccess would continue to use the AOL brand in offering services and also retain the existing staff of 200. AOL Japan's Internet business posted a net profit of about 828 million yen on sales of 9.74 billion yen for the year ended December 2003. EAccess had been wholesaling broadband Internet service to AOL Japan since November 2001.

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