Softbank counts on iPhone, iPad sales to boost profit


Tue, May 10, 2011 - Page 10

Softbank Corp, the exclusive provider of Apple Inc’s iPhone in Japan, said full-year profit and sales would climb as higher revenue from data services helps offset a decline in voice-call traffic.

“We aren’t giving a specific forecast for the current period, but expect sales and profit to climb,” chief executive officer Masayoshi Son said at a briefing in Tokyo yesterday.

The firm reported profit jumped 96 percent last year to ¥189.7 billion (US$2.3 billion), missing the ¥207 billion median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of eight analysts.

The company is expected to post a rise in profit as customers flock to handsets that can surf the Internet and download music, videos and applications. The carrier is expanding its smartphone lineup with models running Google Inc’s Android software to fend off competition from larger rivals NTT DoCoMo Inc and KDDI Corp.

The company may post a net income of ¥268 billion in the year ending in March, according to the median forecast in a Bloomberg survey of seven analysts.

Softbank fell 0.8 percent to close at ¥3,230 on the Tokyo Stock Exchange before the earnings announcement. The stock has added 15 percent this year, compared with a 4.3 percent decline by the benchmark Nikkei 225 Stock Average.

Smartphones will overtake regular mobile phones in Japan in the year ending March 2013, reaching 19.3 million units, Tokyo-based MM Research said in December. Shipments of the devices will climb to 24.1 million in fiscal 2015, it said.

The iPhone was the most popular smartphone in the six months that ended in September last year, capturing 60 percent of the shipments in the country, according to MM Research. Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications AB’s Xperia was second (21 percent), followed by Sharp Corp’s model with 6.3 percent. Both run on Android.