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Softbank new leader in industry operating profit

JIJI

Mobile phone carrier Softbank Corp. overtook longtime industry leader NTT DoCoMo Inc. for the first time in terms of first-quarter group operating profit, their April-June earnings reports show.

For the first quarter of fiscal 2013, Softbank reported operating profit of ¥391 billion, up 92.3 percent from a year before, compared with ¥247.4 billion at DoCoMo, down 5.8 percent.

Softbank has been logging brisk mobile phone subscriptions. It also posted one-off gains associated with the acquisition of game developer Gungho Online Entertainment Inc.

For the full year to next March, Softbank expects its group operating profit to exceed ¥1 trillion, stronger than its previous estimate of ¥900 billion, with benefits from its acquisition of Gungho and personal handy-phone system service provider Willcom Inc. expected to more than offset losses at recently acquired U.S. mobile carrier Sprint Nextel Corp.

DoCoMo saw its group sales increase as many of its customers switched from conventional mobile phones to smartphones and the company was thus able to curb an exodus of subscribers.

But its operating profit fell due to the cost of expanding its high-speed communications network.

KDDI Corp. enjoyed solid growth in April-June sales and operating profit thanks to an increase in subscribers.