Japan's Softbank posts rise in earnings

Japanese internet service and telecommunication company Softbank's profit more than tripled in the fiscal first half as more Japanese subscribed to its services, an Associated Press report said.

The Associated Press report said the Tokyo-based company, which owns a stake in Yahoo Japan, posted a profit of $405.1 million during the six months ended September 30, more than double its profit in the same period a year earlier. First-half sales rose 22% to $11.90 billion.

Competition is intensifying among Japan's mobile carriers, and Softbank has been aggressive in wooing users with discounts and TV advertising since it bought British cellular giant Vodafone Group's struggling Japanese operations last year, the report said.

Softbank boosted the number of people signed to its mobile phone service by nearly 1.8 million from a year earlier to 17 million users, the company said.

The report also quoted company president and internet tycoon Masayoshi Son as saing that Softbank mobile phones were proving so popular that complaints have risen about the long lines at its stores.

The company increased its retail outlets by about 30 % to 2,400 nationwide, and customer satisfaction has improved, he said.

Softbank has been successful in wresting customers away from market leader NTT DoCoMo, the report said.