SoftBank Corp reported mixed results for the final quarter of its fiscal 2019 ending 31 March with mobile revenue slipping despite subscriber gains, but it forecast stable sales in the current fiscal year as it looks to 5G to drive additional growth.
Mobile service revenue fell 3 per cent year-on-year to JPY402.2 billion ($3.8 billion) due to a reduction in fees after it introduced unbundled price plans and family discounts, while equipment sales dipped 1.1 per cent to JPY163 billion.
The operator added 2.05 million mobile subscribers to end March with 24.1 million. ARPU dipped 1.4 per cent to JPY4,330.
While the company didn’t disclose 5G subscriber numbers, it aims to offer the service in 47 prefectures by 31 March 2021 after upgrading more than 10,000 base stations. It plans to deliver 90 per cent population coverage a year later and deploy standalone 5G in fiscal 2021.
Net profit attributable to shareholders fell 6.8 per cent to JPY36.5 billion, while consolidated revenue increased 3.4 per cent to JPY1.24 trillion.
For the full fiscal year, net profit attributable to shareholders rose 2.3 per cent to JPY473.1 billion, with revenue up 4.4 per cent to JPY4.9 trillion.
Capex for the year fell 3.1 per cent to JPY370 billion. It earmarked JPY400 billion for fiscal 2020.
It predicted net profit to grow 2.5 per cent in fiscal 2020 to JPY485 billion and a marginal revenue rise (still in the JPY4.9 trillions). It expects little material impact from the Covid-19 (coronavirus) on its telecoms business, with subscriber growth tipped to remain stable despite a decline in retail footfall.
On an earnings call, CEO Ken Miyauchi said it is preparing for multiple scenarios regarding the length of Covid-19’s impact and is looking at a number of additional cost reduction measures.
The company also announced the establishment of an SDG promotion committee as an advisory body to its board, headed by Miyauchi, and set up an related promotion office to advance sustainability activities.
Parent company SoftBank Group reports fiscal 2019 results 18 May.