After undergoing some deregulation and mergers, three major key players have emerged in the Japanese telecommunications industry; NTT Docomo, au by KDDI, and SoftBank. SoftBank ranked as a leading telecommunication operator worldwide, recording over 52 billion euros in revenue in 2017.
SoftBank Corp. operates as the telecommunications subsidiary of the Japanese multinational holding company SoftBank Group, headquartered in Minato, Tokyo. Established as SoftBank Mobile Corp. in 2008, it was rebranded to SoftBank Corp. in 2015, following the merger with SoftBank BB Corp., SoftBank Telecom Corp. and Y!mobile Corporation.
The company offers mobile and fixed-line telecommunication services directed at general consumers and businesses. In fiscal year 2017, mobile communications proved to be the most profitable service of the parent’s telecommunication segment, surpassing the broadband and fixed-line businesses in revenue. In addition to core communication services, SoftBank includes electric power services and service robots in their portfolio.
As a major player in the Japanese telecommunications industry, SoftBank provides its services to a huge customer base, with mobile subscribers surpassing 30 million. Despite falling behind the competitors NTT Docomo and au by KDDI regarding mobile phone subscriber numbers, the company counted close to 5.3 million mobile devices sold via new subscription plans in fiscal year 2018.
Recent statistics in 2018 revealed that more than half of the Japanese population accessed the internet through their mobile phone. With forecasts estimating a continuous growth until 2023, further opportunities await the domestic operators to expand their customer base. In addition, a new large-scale competitor, the Japanese internet company Rakuten Inc., entered the mobile communication market in 2018, launching a mobile operator service via its mobile phone business Rakuten Mobile Inc.. The market thereby might experience change in the near future.