Softbank swings back to black in fiscal first half

09 Nov 2006

(Associated Press via NewsEdge) Softbank said it swung back into the black for the fiscal first-half by cutting its broadband Internet service promotion costs, acquiring mobile phone operations and brisk e-commerce and advertising business.

The Internet services company reported a 14.44 billion yen ($122.37 million) net profit for the six-month period through September 30, compared with a 4.18 billion yen ($34.46 million) loss the same period of last year.

Sales at Softbank, which acquired Vodafone Group's Japan unit in April, rose to 1.120 trillion yen ($9.49 billion) from 522.79 billion yen ($4.49 million) a year earlier.

Softbank CEO Masayoshi Son told reporters that his company's mobile unit, Softbank Mobile, has lost a net 21,000 subscribers since the start of number portability in Japan last month.

Softbank Mobile, currently the No. 3 carrier in Japan by subscribers after NTT DoCoMo and KDDI, faced an uphill battle as it upgraded its network infrastructure and increased brand recognition, but its profits would not fall into the red this year, Son said.

Softbank Mobile said it had lost 98,500 subscribers and acquired 67,500 subscribers through number portability, a new system in Japan allowing users to switch cellular operators but keep their numbers.

Last week, Softbank Mobile was forced to modify the content of its advertising at the request of Japan's fair trade watchdog to make sure customers aren't misled. It also had to stop part of its new subscriber campaign last week to avoid confusion.

© 2006 The Associated Press

© 2006 Dialog, a Thomson business. All rights reserved

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