Softbank profit surges on brisk smartphone sales

TOKYO (AP) ? Softbank Corp., the sole carrier of Apple’s iPhone in Japan, said quarterly profit surged almost fivefold due to strong demand for smartphones.

Net profit totaled 94.79 billion yen ($1.2 billion) in the first quarter of the fiscal year through March 2012, the Tokyo-based company said. That compares to 19.44 billion yen during the same period last year.

Softbank’s mobile business, which is Japan’s No. 3 cell phone carrier, gained on rivals by adding a net 730,000 subscribers during the quarter. The company credits most of the rise to the popularity of the iPhone and Android handsets.

Sales rose 9 percent to 764.2 billion yen, and operating profit climbed 12 percent to 175.83 billion yen.

Softbank did not release financial forecasts for the full fiscal year.

While revenue and operating income are expected to climb, the company said it cannot yet estimate future earnings amid plans to further increase subscribers.