SoftBank Corp’s mobile revenue returned to growth in fiscal 2023 (ending 30 March), a year ahead of a previous guidance, with continued gains forecast as tariffs started to bottom out. 

The operator expects both profit and revenue in the current fiscal year to increase by about 2 per cent.

President and CEO Junichi Miyakawa noted on an earnings call its full-year results topped upwardly revisited forecasts, noting revenue growth was driven by increases in non-telecoms businesses, while profit increased across all units, including consumer.

Miyakawa said 5G investment has “run its course and capex will be controlled” at JPY330 billion ($2.1 billion) annually for the next two fiscal years, and it plans to invest JPY150 billion in generative AI in the current fiscal year.

Mobile revenue in fiscal Q4 rose 3.4 per cent year-on-year to JPY370.4 billion, credited to a slowdown in the decline in ARPU following price reductions implemented in 2021. ARPU in the quarter was stable at JPY3,750.

Mobile subscribers increased 6.3 per cent to 55.6 million. It did not disclose 5G figures.

Sales of devices rose 5.5 per cent to JPY159.3 billion.

Its enterprise business grew 5.9 per cent to JPY211.1 billion; revenue from the distribution unit increased nearly 20 per cent to JPY191 billion; and media and e-commerce sales were up 5.7 per cent to JPY414.6 billion.

Net profit in the quarter jumped nearly fourfold to JPY82.5 billion, aided by one-off gains a year ago, with consolidate revenue flat at JPY1.57 trillion.

The operator added 20,000 5G based stations to take the total to 85,000 at end-March. 

Full-year capex declined 9.1 per cent to JPY552.2 billion, with JPY313 billion spent on 5G.