SK Telecom (SKT), South Korea’s largest mobile operator, reported a sharp increase in profit for Q3, due mostly to a large equity gain from its holdings in SK Hynix and steady revenue growth despite modest gains in mobile service.
The operator’s net income jumped 146 per cent year-on-year in the quarter to KRW793 billion ($694 million) due to equity gains from its investment in SK Hynix (KRW626 billion vs KRW114 billion in Q3 2016). SKT holds about a 20 per cent stake in South Korea’s second largest chipmaker.
Consolidated revenue grew 4.7 per cent to KRW4.44 trillion compared with the 2016 period, which the company said was driven by an increase in mobile subs along with stronger performances by its major subsidiaries SK Broadband and SK Planet.
The operator added 705,000 subscribers over the past year, bringing its total to 30.2 million by the end of Q3. LTE data subscribers accounted for 74.8 per cent of the total, or 22.6 million.
Mobile revenue edged up 1.7 per cent to KRW2.74 trillion, with ARPU stable at KRW35,488.
SK Broadband’s revenue increased 1.2 per cent to KRW760 billion as it added 220,000 broadband and 410,000 IPTV subscriptions since Q3 2016. SK Planet reported KRW285 billion in revenue, up 5.8 per cent year-on-year, due to growth of its online commerce business.
SKT said it raised network capex in Q3 19 per cent from a year ago to KRW442 billion to fulfill deployment obligations and prepare for growth, and increased marketing expenses 10.8 per cent to KRW798 billion in response to rising competition.