Japanese carrier Softbank's Q1 profit falls on decline in sales

Japan's No. 3 mobile carrier Softbank reported a 22.9% plunge in fiscal first-quarter profit as people hung on to their handsets longer before upgrading them, an Associated Press report said.

Softbank has grabbed media attention here as the exclusive local carrier so far of the iPhone from Apple, and has also embarked on an aggressive campaign to lure people away from rivals with discounts.

But it has yet to translate such marketing moves to solid profit gains, the report said.

A decline in revenue per user also added to the fall in Softbank's April-June profit to 19.37 billion yen €116 million (US$179.4 million), the Tokyo-based company said. Quarterly sales declined 2.4% to 647.26 billion yen €3.85 billion (US$6 billion), according to Softbank.

Softbank has been increasing users, gaining 525,500 users to its mobile service during the latest quarter, marking the 14th straight month of beating rivals NTT DoCoMo and KDDI in winning new people over to its service.

The defections to Softbank have accelerated since Japan adopted 'number portability' late last year. That allows people to switch carriers without changing phone numbers.

Some 19 million people in Japan now use Softbank for their mobile phone service.