updated 02:15 pm EDT, Thu July 28, 2011
Softbank net income soars in Q2 through Apple
Japanese carrier Softbank posted strong results (PDF) that it could credit largely to Apple. Its profit jumped from the equivalent of $250 million a year ago to $1.22 billion this year. Much of this came through a shift to smartphones, which on Softbank are led by the iPhone.
Company chief Masayoshi Son in an interview Thursday saw the iPhone having a magnifying effect. "The iPhone's strength is standing out the more people come to use smartphones," explained to TeleGeography.
Son added that Softbank had a very high amount of data revenue compared to to voice, at the equivalent of over $31 per month on average per person. The figure is higher even than in the smartphone-heavy US, where data revenue is often closer to $20.
Android has gained ground on the iPhone in Japan in recent months as carriers loosened their once rigid preferences for the near-ubiquitous flip phones from most local companies. However, Apple is still the top smartphone brand in the country and, like in the US, is mostly competing with companies like Samsung, HTC, Toshiba-Fujitsu, and others that are mostly taking advantage of the iPhone's absence on certain carriers. Softbank is still the only carrier in Japan to offer the iPhone, and Apple will need to either expand its official frequency support (for NTT DoCoMo) or offer the CDMA version (for KDDI) to get more reach.
The iPad may also have played a role. Apple offers the iPad not just prepaid in Japan but also on contract, in some cases giving it away for free in return for signing up for a long-term data contract. Android tablets have considerably less stake than even in the US. [via GigaOM]