South Korea’s KT recorded continued weakness in mobile revenue despite steady gains in LTE subscriber additions, as customers opted for discounted plans, pushing ARPU lower for a second consecutive quarter.
The operator’s Q2 net profit dipped 0.4 per cent year-on-year to KRW257 billion ($229 million), with total revenue edging up 0.7 per cent to KRW5.88 trillion. Service revenue fell 0.4 per cent to KRW5.05 trillion and wireless turnover slipped 0.7 per cent to KRW1.67 trillion, which the company attributed to increased take-up of selective tariff discounts.
Merchandise sales increased 7.6 per cent to KRW832 billion.
Revenue from its media and content business, which covers IPTV and T-commerce (trading via digital TVs) services, increased 7.6 per cent from 2017 to KRW604 billion. Fixed-voice revenue dropped 6.1 per cent to KRW433 billion, while broadband sales rose 1.6 per cent to KRW509 billion.
KT expanded its LTE subscriber base 5.8 per cent year-on-year to end June with 20.7 million and a 4G penetration of 78.5 per cent. ARPU fell 5.3 per cent to KRW34,733.
Its capex guidance for the year remained at KRW2.3 trillion, down marginally from KRW2.25 trillion in 2017.
Rival SK Telecom reported Q2 results on 27 July, with its net profit jumping 48 per cent to KRW914 billion due to equity gains on SK Hynix. While operating revenue rose 4 per cent year-on-year to KRW3.8 trillion, mobile revenue dropped 7.4 per cent to KRW2.3 trillion as a result of continued tariff cuts.