Japan-based NTT Docomo introduced a range of lower-priced data plans to attract new subscribers after recording a profit gain and flat mobile revenue for the first three quarters of fiscal 2020 that puts it on track to at least hit its full-year revenue forecast.
The operator, which previously said it expects revenue in the fiscal year ending 31 March to increase 9.8 per cent to JPY4.57 trillion ($43.3 billion), noted it is working to exceed that target.
Net profit for the nine-month period ending 31 December rose 4.5 per cent year-on-year to JPY566.9 billion, with operating revenue dipping marginally to JPY3.51 trillion.
For the October to December quarter, mobile service revenue was flat at JPY685.1 billion; equipment sales grew 15.1 per cent to JPY196.8 billion, rebounding from a 6.6 per cent year-on-year decline the previous quarter.
Revenue from its Smart Life business increased 6.2 per cent to JPY153.4 billion, while sales from other business units was also flat at JPY115.2 billion.
In an earnings call, the operator unveiled new tiered data plans to be available 1 April, ranging from small data allowances to unlimited. Under the Premium brand, an unlimited plan runs JPY4,480 a month, while 1GB of data is JPY1,480 a month.
Docomo EVP Michio Fujiwara said in the call the aim is to offer “accessible services for low-volume customers going forward”, noting amid rising competition last year, all players are now offering similar data rates, but highlighted its network quality and coverage as key benefits to draw in new customers.
As a result of more flexible plans first introduced in December, he noted it is beginning to see an improvement in subscriptions, adding it is working to reduce any impact on its bottom-line by lowering marketing and network costs.
The operator closed 2020 with 1.4 million 5G subs and expects to have 2.45 million by end-March. Total mobile subscribers increased 3 per cent year-on-year to 81.75 million. Mobile ARPU dropped 4.2 per cent to JPY4,760, after discounts.
Capex for the nine-month period increased 6.6 per cent to JPY360.5 billion.
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