The SoftBank Group (“The Group”) is guided by a corporate philosophy of “Information Revolution — Happiness for everyone.” The Group aims to be a provider of the most essential technologies and services to people around the world through its endeavors in various businesses in the information industry, while maximizing its enterprise value.
In the ICT market the rapid penetration*1 of smartphones and tablets will cause a shift from PCs to mobile devices as the preferred means of accessing the Internet. One of the Group's strategies is to concentrate on business development in the field of mobile Internet, which is projected to grow in line with these changes.
In line with this strategy, the Group is currently working to strengthen its network and provide high-speed data communication services, enhance its lineup of smartphones and tablets, expand its mobile content, optimize services such as e-commerce for mobile devices, and enhance its cloud services, among other initiatives. By promoting mobile Internet usage, the entire SoftBank Group plans to increase revenues from use of data communication services and other services and content.
The information industry is characterized by rapid changes in technology, business models, and market needs. To become a provider of the most essential technologies and services to people around the world, it is imperative that the Group be flexible regarding any specific technologies or business models, and continue transforming itself repeatedly in line with the changes in the times, expanding and changing its lines of business.
The Group launches new services and businesses from within the Group, and also invests in companies possessing outstanding technologies or business models, or establishes joint ventures with them to form and expand a “strategic synergy group” on a global scale.
Each company in the strategic synergy group conducts business and makes decisions autonomously, organically combining their respective strengths to create synergies. In this way, the entire group will realize sustainable growth.
The U.S. market holds great potential for rapid expansion in the mobile Internet field. It has approximately 350 million cumulative mobile phone subscribers*2 -more than twice the number in Japan- and the number of active smartphones has reached 220 million.*3 The SoftBank Group expects to complete its acquisition of U.S. company Sprint On July 1, 2013.*4 Through this acquisition the Group aims to establish an operating base in the U.S. market, thereby expanding its business scale and allowing it to capture the growth of this market going forward.
After the acquisition is complete, the SoftBank Group is expected to have one of the largest combined subscriber bases*5 in the Japanese and U.S. markets as a mobile network operator. This will enable the Group to leverage benefits of scale to the fullest extent in developing its business, including procurement of mobile handsets and network equipment and provision of content and services such as games and video by Group companies.
The Group recognizes the need to enhance its network for the mobile communications services provided by SoftBank Mobile Corp. As in the fiscal year ended March 31, 2013, the Group will continue measures to expand the telecommunications service area, cope with network traffic increase, and prepare the network for high-speed data communication services.
The Group will take measures to disperse the load of increased network traffic by working ahead of schedule to construct base stations compatible with the 900 MHz band that can efficiently cover wide areas, as well as increasing the number of Wi-Fi spot installations and utilizing the AXGP network of its consolidated subsidiary Wireless City Planning Inc. Furthermore, to make high-speed data communication services more accessible, the Group will install more LTE-compatible base stations and make active use of the 1.7 GHz band LTE network of eAccess Ltd., which became a Group company in January 2013.
Following the completion of the acquisition of Sprint, which is expected to close on July 1, 2013, the Group expects to become a mobile operator with one of the largest subscriber bases*5 in the Japanese and U.S. markets. Looking ahead, the Group will need to strengthen its operating base across both markets and consolidate its position as one of the world's largest mobile Internet companies.
In the Japanese market, SoftBank Mobile Corp. and other Group companies will build a solid foundation for the operating base through measures such as strengthening the network, bolstering sales activities, improving customer satisfaction, and enhancing content.
Meanwhile, in the U.S. market the Group will enhance Sprint's competitive capabilities and establish a strong operating base. To this end, it will leverage the knowledge it has cultivated in Japan with regard to smartphones and communications networks, and its experience in executing measures boldly and swiftly in a way unheard of among its Japanese competitors.
The Group's net interest-bearing debt on March 31, 2013 stood at 733,843 million yen. For the year ending March 31, 2014 the Group expects this amount to increase significantly due to the procurement of funds for the acquisition of Sprint.
The Group will work to reduce net interest-bearing debt swiftly. To achieve this, the Group will leverage the abundant cash flows generated by its strong business in Japan, particularly in the Mobile Communications segment.