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Crediting the recently introduced number portability system, KDDI Corp. said Tuesday its group operating profit for the 2006 business year to March jumped 16.2 percent from a year earlier to 344.7 billion yen.

Since the introduction of number portability in October, which allows users to change carriers without changing numbers, many users have switched to its au mobile phone service, KDDI said.

Group sales increased 9.0 percent to 3.34 trillion yen, while net profit was 186.75 billion yen, down from 190.57 billion yen the previous year. Strong performance in its mobile phone business offset its land-line business, which continued to bleed red ink, the firm said.

As of the end of March, KDDI’s au brand mobile phone service had a 29 percent share of Japan’s 96.7 million subscribers.

The nation’s top carrier, NTT DoCoMo Inc., had 54 percent of the market while Softbank Mobile Corp. had a 17 percent share.

“The number portability has vitalized the (mobile phone) market,” KDDI President Tadashi Onodera said in Tokyo. “Our mobile phone business is going well.”

KDDI’s strong music services attracted a number of people to sign new contracts, and the company expects continued success for its mobile phone business in the current business year. In fiscal 2007, KDDI expects its group operating profit to jump 13.1 percent to 390 billion yen and sales to rise 4.9 percent to 3.5 trillion yen.

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