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SoftBank Corp. to strengthen 5G network through ‘Social Loan’

SoftBank Corp. announced it decided to raise up to 35,059,487,624 yen through a Social Loan*1 (syndicated loan) to fund capital expenditures exclusively for the construction of 5G base stations. Proceeds from the loan will be used to further strengthen SoftBank’s 5G network and help resolve various social issues in Japan.

Guided by its concept of “a world where all things, information and minds are connected” to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society, SoftBank aims to help resolve social issues and enhance its corporate value by utilizing its robust business infrastructure and technologies such as 5G, IoT and AI. Accordingly, SoftBank and its subsidiaries have identified six Priority Issues (Materiality), and are focusing on initiatives to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

As a provider of telecommunications networks, a social infrastructure essential to daily life, SoftBank is building out its 5G network to respond to four of its six Priority Issues (Materiality): “Building Society and Industry through DX,” “Connecting People and Information to Create New Excitement,” “Creating New Business through Open Innovation,” and “Building High-quality Social Communication Networks.” Japan is facing numerous social issues that include a declining birthrate, aging population and overconcentration in major cities, and to resolve these issues, the Government of Japan is proposing a transition to “Society 5.0”*2. SoftBank believes that 5G—thanks to its ultra-high-speeds and high capacity, high reliability and low latency, and massive device connectivity—can help resolve various social issues and realize Society 5.0 as an important infrastructure that is foundational for autonomous driving systems, telemedicine, smart cities and other innovative services, as well as the digital transformation (DX) of industries. SoftBank also believes that 5G networks can greatly contribute to the birth of new industry sectors and create new value.

By utilizing systems developed in-house to deploy 5G base stations, SoftBank is automating and optimizing integration processes for base station settings, communication tests and the preparation of radio wave emissions to rapidly roll out its 5G network. At the end of March 2022, SoftBank’s population coverage ratio*3 surpassed 90%. With the proceeds raised from this Social Loan, SoftBank will further strengthen and accelerate the rollout of its 5G network.

The fund raising from this Social Loan is part of the Sustainability Finance initiatives that SoftBank is promoting. In January 2022, SoftBank issued a Sustainability Bond (HAPS Bond), and proceeds from that bond will be used to fund SoftBank’s High Altitude Platform Station (HAPS) business that aims to provide wide-area and stable telecommunication networks from the stratosphere to realize a society where all are connected.

In the raising funds through this Social Loan, SoftBank has established a Social Loan Framework with policies regarding the use of the funds raised, their management, and reporting guidelines. SoftBank has obtained an external opinion from Rating and Investment Information, Inc., an independent external organization, that its framework conforms with the 2021 edition of Social Loan Principles (published by the UK-based Loan Market Association, Asia Pacific Loan Market Association and US-based Loan Syndications and Trading Association). CT Bureau

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