South Korean operator LG Uplus booked strong profit growth in Q4 2019 despite sharply higher network investment costs, as mobile tariffs climbed for the second consecutive quarter on rising uptake of 5G plans.

Net profit jumped 37.3 per cent year-on-year to KRW103.3 billion ($86.7 million). Mobile service revenue rose 2.4 per cent to KRW1.31 trillion, while handset revenue grew 5.5 per cent to KRW809 billion.

Its 5G subscriber base grew by 290,000 (down from 488,000 additions in Q3 2019) to end December at 1.17 million.

Capex was up 27.5 per cent to KRW817 billion. ARPU in Q4 dipped 1.3 per cent to KRW31,139.

Net profit for the full year fell 8.9 per cent to KRW439 billion, on revenue of KRW12.4 trillion, which was up 5.6 per cent. The company said the profit drop was due to higher depreciation and amortistion costs related to its 5G network deployment and spectrum acquisition.

Capex jumped 86.7 per cent to KRW2.61 trillion, with spending on wireless networks rising more than threefold to KRW1.49 trillion.

The operator added nearly 900,000 mobile subscribers in 2019, ending the year with 14.2 million.