SoftBank Corp.'s strong business performance has been underpinned by solid growth in the telecommunications business.
Cumulative smartphone subscribers increased by 10% year on year to 22.08 million.
SoftBank supports a wide range of customer needs through three differentiated brands: SoftBank, Y!mobile and LINE MOBILE. With the SoftBank brand, we provide Ultra Giga Monster Plus, a large-capacity 50 GB data usage plan with unlimited use of eligible video and SNS, at a monthly rate starting from 3,480 yen. This plan is a great deal, offering large-capacity data usage at the lowest price compared with the latest large-capacity data plans announced by other major mobile network operators (MNOs). Meanwhile, in the area of small and medium-capacity data plans, the Y!mobile brand provides simple and low-priced plans in comparison with the plans for light users offered by other major MNOs. Additionally, in the fourth quarter of FY2018, the number of subscribers migrating from Y!mobile to SoftBank exceeded the number of subscribers migrating from SoftBank to Y!mobile for the first time. Moreover, our smartphone churn rate has hit a record low of 0.83% since Home Bundle Discount Hikari Set contributed significantly to reducing the churn rate, which around one in every two smartphone subscribers are enrolled in this service. The Home Bundle Discount Hikari Set is a bundle discount service that combines broadband service and mobile communications service.
Furthermore, today we will announce the “Smartphone Debut Plan,” a new plan under the SoftBank brand to realize “100% smartphone penetration.” With this plan, customers switching from feature phones to smartphones through Mobile Number Portability (MNP) or upgrades will receive a discount on their basic charges to a rate of 980 yen per month for 1 year. Moreover, customers joining by September 30, 2019 will receive a bonus equivalent to 6,000 yen in “PayPay” Points that can be used with PayPay, a QR code payment service that is now attracting a lot of attention.
In these ways, SoftBank Corp. will maintain strong competitiveness in mobile communications services through three strategies focused on heavy data users, light users, and feature phone users shifting to smartphones.
In broadband services, cumulative subscribers for our mainstay SoftBank Hikari fiber-optic service increased by 19% year on year.
In business for enterprise customers, we delivered steady growth in “Business solution and others” revenue, which encompasses areas such as robotics, AI, robotic process automation (RPA), security and cloud services, with revenue up 12% year on year, in addition to our core businesses such as mobile communications, fixed-line telephone, and virtual private network (VPN) services. Notably, the IoT business has been expanding steadily. In this business, we provide a total service ranging from AI-based robotics and network services to cloud and API (interface for external collaboration) services.
In 5G (fifth generation mobile communications system) technology, we will soon roll out services on a full scale. In the process, we are aiming for over 90% 5G population coverage at an early stage.