SoftBank Group’s Japanese mobile business provided some relief in what was a torrid fiscal Q2 for the conglomerate, showing signs of recovery on the back of annual rises in ARPU and customer numbers.
In a statement, the operator’s president and CEO Ken Miyauchi said it added nearly 1 million smartphone subscribers since transitioning away from plans with contract periods and cancellation fees in April. In September it reduced cancellation fees for both the SoftBank and Y!mobile brands to zero.
The operator is also phasing out attractive mobile discounts, which helped ARPU during the three months to end-September.
Mobile service revenue increased 4.9 per cent year-on-year to JPY425 billion ($3.9 billion) driven by a 2.8 per cent uptick in total ARPU to JPY4,450 and a 3.3 per cent increase in subscribers for a total of 44.79 million at the end of the period.
SoftBank’s moves around cancellation fees could offset the future impact of new regulations which came into effect following the close of its fiscal Q2, requiring operators to lower contract cancellation fees to JPY1,000 ($143) or less, reduce handset subsidies, and separate service fees and handset payments.
Equipment sales dipped 2 per cent to JPY158 billion; enterprise revenue grew 3.8 per cent to JPY160 billion; while sales at its Yahoo business increased 5.5 per cent to JPY246 billion.
Miyauchi said new businesses also grew steadily, with total registrations for smartphone payment joint venture PayPay exceeding 14.7 million at end-September, a year after it started. He added the number of payments made had increased rapidly in the past few months.
The executive also noted SoftBank had accelerated 5G initiatives and will launch services soon.
Capex was down 14 per cent year-on-year to JPY117 billion during the quarter.
Net profit rose 6.2 per cent to JPY163 billion, on total revenue of JPY1.21 trillion, also up 6.2 per cent.
The mobile unit’s performance was a stark contrast to SoftBank Group, which suffered heavy declines in the six months to end-September following well-publicised problems around its investment in shared workspace business WeWork. Reuters noted the group also took hits around its Vision Fund and investment in taxi company Uber.
Net income attributable to shareholders fell 49.8 per cent year-on-year to JPY421.5 billion, with revenue of JPY4.6 trillion unchanged.Subscribe to our daily newsletter Back