[Japan]LINE MOBILE and SoftBank Execute a Capital Alliance and Partnership to Further Grow the LINE MOBILE MVNO Business

2018.03.20 Corporate Announcement

TOKYO – March 20, 2018 – Today, LINE MOBILE Corporation ("LINE MOBILE"), a consolidated subsidiary of LINE Corporation, and SoftBank Corp. ("SoftBank") executed a capital alliance to further grow the "LINE MOBILE" MVNO (mobile virtual network operator) business operated by LINE MOBILE.

 

In addition to a capital alliance wherein SoftBank will underwrite a third-party allocation of new shares to increase LINE MOBILE’s capital, the two parties also entered a partnership to promote the MVNO business. The investment ratio after the capital increase will be 51% SoftBank, and 49% LINE. LINE MOBILE's Representative Director and President will continue to be Ayano Kado, its core values since service launch—simple, free, and value—will be preserved, and the company will continue to strive to provide a mobile communication service that caters to users' needs.

 

Since its service launch in September 2016, LINE MOBILE has been offering a variety of comprehensive price plans that subscribers can choose from based on how they generally use their smartphone. Depending on the plan, users have unlimited data allowance when using LINE and other popular social media platforms, and LINE's own music streaming service "LINE MUSIC." In addition to its overwhelming value at that price point, LINE MOBILE is also known for its outstanding customer support.

 

The aim of the latest capital alliance and partnership with SoftBank is to further grow the LINE MOBILE service, and further accelerate the expansion of the business. As LINE MOBILE continues to pursue its three core values—simple, free, and value—it will reinforce its connections with the LINE app, and apply SoftBank's experience and know-how as a comprehensive telecommunications business operator to expand its customer base by performing marketing and analyzing the telco market and its customers, establishing a distribution infrastructure, offering more devices, and more.

 

As a first step, LINE MOBILE plans to offer a service that operates on the SoftBank network starting this summer. Current LINE MOBILE customers will be able to continue using the service on the DOCOMO network. A separate announcement will be made regarding details on service updates and other new initiatives once preparations are completed.

                                                                               

Through its capital alliance and partnership with SoftBank, LINE MOBILE will promote further development of its service and business, and strive to provide a better mobile communication service to its users.

 

Comment from Ayano Kado (Representative Director and President of LINE MOBILE Corporation):

I am very happy that LINE MOBILE and SoftBank have executed a capital alliance. Since its service launch, LINE MOBILE has been providing a service that fulfills users' needs, and delivering it in the simplest and most comprehensive way. We have consistently catered to our users' needs by making this our number one priority at LINE MOBILE. As part of these efforts, we have conducted a variety of initiatives including launching new packaged plans and features. As a result of these initiatives, we have increased our number of subscribers, and are successfully maintaining a high level of customer satisfaction. During the discussions between LINE MOBILE and SoftBank that lead up to this partnership, the two companies' opinions on the MVNO and mobile communication markets, ideal offline and online touchpoints with customers, and future visions were a perfect match. As a result, LINE MOBILE will be working with SoftBank as well as LINE to promote the growth and expansion of the LINE MOBILE business. Through the partnership with SoftBank, LINE MOBILE will strive to further improve customer satisfaction by providing a mobile communication service that better meets users' needs.

 

Comment from Ken Miyauchi (President & CEO of SoftBank Corp.):

We are thrilled with this capital alliance and partnership with LINE MOBILE. It will not only allow us to launch a new MVNO business, but will also let SoftBank offer three mobile business brands: SoftBank, Y!mobile, and LINE MOBILE. This will enable us to expand our customer base and fulfill the needs of an even greater number of people. LINE MOBILE is an MVNO business built around the massively popular LINE messaging platform with great potential, such as its strength as an online customer touchpoint. By providing continuous support to LINE MOBILE with our experience and know-how as a comprehensive telecommunications business operator, we are convinced that LINE MOBILE will achieve further growth, and we hope to generate synergies that will also benefit SoftBank's business.

 

Comment from Takeshi Idezawa (Representative Director, President, Chief Executive Officer of LINE Corporation):

With the aim to become an all-inclusive "Smart Portal," through which users can seamlessly access the people, information, services, businesses, and brands they need, LINE operates services in a wide range of sectors from payment and delivery, to news and manga. Under LINE's Smart Portal strategy, not only is the mobile communication service "LINE MOBILE" a vital service, but the growth of LINE MOBILE will also foster the growth of the LINE platform as a whole. For example, data shows that LINE MOBILE users have a greater than average tendency to use LINE Points and other day-to-day services and payment-related services, and data that can be acquired from LINE MOBILE users can be utilized for the many services operated on the LINE platform. Further, I consider LINE MOBILE to be a service with great potential when connected to various other services, as is being done with LINE Pay. Achieving further growth for the LINE MOBILE service as a result of the alliance between LINE MOBILE and SoftBank is benefitial to the LINE platform as well. LINE will reinforce connections between LINE MOBILE and other services, and continue to support the growth of the LINE MOBILE service.

 

Schedule of third-party allocation of shares for capital increase

(1) Date of agreement execution : March 20, 2018

(2) Date of capital increase : April 2, 2018 (tentative)

 

LINE MOBILE Corporation Overview

Company name: LINE MOBILE Corporation

Established: February 26, 2016

Total capital: JPY 1,710,000,000

Representative: Ayano Kado, Representative Director and President

Primary business: Provision of internet connection services, electronic telecommunication business, internet phone-calling and other telecommunication-related services

 

Note: Company, product, and service names used herein are registered trademarks or trademarks belonging to their respective companies.