Japan’s leading mobile operator by subscribers, NTT DOCOMO, has published its latest financial results for the nine months ended 31 December 2016, reporting net income (attributable to shareholders) of JPY589.426 billion (USD5.177 billion), up 19.7% from JPY492.440 billion for the corresponding year-earlier period. Operating revenue increased 2.5% to JPY3.469 trillion from JPY3.383 trillion, mainly due to the recovery of telecoms services revenues as a result of the growth of the packet consumption of its ‘Kake-hodai & Pake-aeru’ billing plans, the expansion of smartphone use, rising demand for tablets and other products purchased as a second mobile device for individual use, and the growth in the number of ‘docomo Hikari’ (i.e. fibre-optic broadband) users. Operating income for the nine months under review surged 22.9% to JPY842.336 billion, and pre-tax earnings jumped 24.9% to JPY846.165 billion, while CAPEX rose by 10.2% year-on-year to JPY399.4 billion as DOCOMO professed to have ‘pursued more efficient use of capital expenditures and further cost reduction’, and expanded the area coverage of its ‘PREMIUM 4G’ service.
NTT DOCOMO closed out 31 December with a total of 73.588 million mobile subscribers, up 5.7% on an annualised basis, of which some 42.671 million were 4G (branded ‘Xi’, up 17.6%) and 30.917 million were 3G (‘FOMA’, down 7.2%). In the nine-month period under review DOCOMO sold a total of 20.140 million handsets, broken down as 7.019 million new Xi subscriptions, 2.050 million upgrades from FOMA 3G services, 6.968 million upgrades from existing Xi subscriptions, 2.301 million new FOMA subscriptions, 53,000 downgrades from Xi to FOMA and 1.750 million FOMA upgrades from existing FOMA subscriptions. The average churn rate of 0.57% was broadly unchanged y-o-y, while average monthly ARPU of JPY4,400 marked a 6.3% improvement y-o-y. Average monthly minutes of use (MOU) edged up by four minutes in the period to 137 minutes.