South Korea-based KT registered its fifth consecutive quarter of annual ARPU increases during Q1 as the addition of more than 2.5 million 5G subscribers offset a broader decline in customer numbers.

On an earnings call, CFO Kim Young-jin highlighted an increase in premium subscribers and efficient cost control as key drivers of profit growth.

Net profit rose 39.5 per cent year-on-year to KRW455.4 billion ($353.1 million), due in part to lower capex of KRW346 billion. Operating revenue rose 4.1 per cent to KRW6.3 trillion.

While it shed more than 300,000 mobile subscribers to close the quarter with 14.1 million, its 5G connections increased to 6.9 million from 4.4 million in Q1 2021.

Wireless revenue rose 1.9 per cent to KRW1.5 trillion, with handset sales declining 10.9 per cent to KRW712.2 billion.

ARPU grew 3.7 per cent to KRW32,308.

Digico revenue, covering its media and mobile platform businesses, grew 4.7 per cent to KRW549.3 billion. Corporate telecoms sales rose 7.1 per cent to KRW519.7 billion and its enterprise division, including cloud and new businesses, 10.5 per cent to KRW539.6 billion.

Capex for 2022 is forecast at or slightly lower than the KRW2.9 trillion of 2021.