NTT DoCoMo will acquire a 7% stake in Philippine Long Distance Telephone and work with PLDT on the launch of I-mode and 3G cellular telephone services in the country, it said Tuesday. PLDT offers cellular services in the Philippines through its Smart Communications subsidiary."We will be investing into PLDT," said Masao Nakamura, president and CEO of NTT DoCoMo, at a Tokyo news conference. "The Philippines is one of the major hubs in Asia with a large population base and PLDT is shifting from fixed line to mobile. As NTT Communications is involved, we will not have to pay a premium and have a very firm stake of 7%."The goal is to increase roaming services and spread I-mode and Wideband Code Division Multiple Access services, Nakamura said.NTT DoCoMo, Japan's leading cellular carrier, will acquire the stake for $444 million from NTT Communications, a sister-company that currently holds a 14% of PLDT. The deal has been approved by First Pacific, which owns a 31% of PLDT and is the carrier's largest shareholder.The Japanese cellular carrier said it may consider increasing its stake in PLDT in the future. One option under consideration by NTT group and First Pacific is to increase the combined shareholding of the two companies to 51% so they can have stable control over the company, said Nakamura.The deal comes just over one month after NTT DoCoMo said it had bought a 10% stake in KTF, one of South Korea's largest cellular operators.NTT DoCoMo had put a hold on international acquisitions for several years since a series of deals reached during the Internet and telecommunications bubble went sour and cost the company billions of dollars in losses.