NTT DOCOMO’s revenues, profits fall in first-half; plans to combine broadband and mobile services

3 Nov 2014

Japan’s largest mobile operator by subscribers, NTT DOCOMO, said last Friday that its operating revenue for the six months ended 30 September 2014 (H1 FY2015), fell 2.1% to JPY2.172 trillion (USD19.3 billion) from JPY2.198 trillion in the corresponding period of 2013, while net income slipped 13.6% to JPY259.522 billion. Operating income declined by 15.5% year-on-year to JPY399.586 billion which DOCOMO said was affected by cuts to the prices of handsets, including Apple iPhones – which it only added to its product portfolio last year, a full five years after Softbank began selling them. In the wake of the disappointing results, the carrier has lowered its forecast full year operating profit to JPY630 billion, which it attributes to tough competition in the local market. Further, DOCOMO says that to counter the threat to its dominant position, from next February it will begin selling fixed broadband and mobile services on a single, discounted package. The operator intends to use the fibre-optic network of its parent NTT Corp to offer the broadband service. In June this year DOCOMO unveiled its first discounted package which it says has been very popular. More than ten million customers had taken advantage of the promotion by mid-October, many of them existing users who have reportedly switched over from more expensive packages. As a result, DOCOMO added a net 1.19 million new subscribers in April-September, compared to just 240,000 in the corresponding period of 2013. To help drive growth in 2015/16, the cellco plans to spend JPY650 billion per year on network enhancements, and expects to have deployed 95,300 Long Term Evolution (LTE) base stations by March 2015; it had deployed 79,000 LTE base stations by September 2014, up from 66,300 in June. DOCOMO had 26.22 million 4G LTE subscribers at 30 September 2014. Total mobile subscriptions stood at 64.290 million at the same date.