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NTT DoCoMo Eyes Stake in AT&T Wireless

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, Japan's biggest wireless telephone company, looks like it is close to picking up a 20% chunk of

AT&T Wireless


. A variety of published reports say the deal could be valued at as much as $9 billion and be announced next week.

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DoCoMo has been looking for ways to expand its reach in the United States. It wants a quick way to introduce its mobile phone Net service, called I-mode, which enables consumers to use their phones to read the news, trade stocks, book concert tickets and figure out where to get the best sushi.


(T) - Get AT&T Inc. Report

created a new stock to track its wireless unit in April. The wireless unit reported revenue of $2.8 billion, a 36.6% gain over the year-ago quarter. Total subscribers, including those won in acquisitions of rival companies and those served by AT&T partners, numbered 15 million, a gain of 1 million over the prior quarter.

A month ago, AT&T announced that it was splitting into

four easy pieces, one of which is AT&T Wireless.