SK Telecom’s Q3 profit increased 5.7 per cent to KRW531 billion ($501 million) from a year earlier as it added more than one million new LTE subscribers and its chip unit posted strong gains.
LTE/LTE-Advanced subscribers increased to 16.5 million and now account for 57 per cent of the operator’s total customer base. It aims to hit 60 per cent by the end of this year, 70 per cent of total customers by the end of next year and 80 per cent at the end of 2016.
SKT has a 49 per cent overall market share in South Korea and 46 per cent of the country’s LTE use base. Rival KT has a 31 per cent share of the overall market and LTE connections while LG Uplus has a 19 per cent share and 23 per cent of the country’s LTE subscribers.
SKT’s revenue rose 5.9 per cent to KRW4.367 trillion ($4.12 billion) in the quarter compared to 2013, with its chip unit, SK Hynix, posting net income of KRW531 billion.
ARPU was up 4.3 per cent to KRW36,417 year-on-year, which the company said was due mainly to an increase in the number of LTE subscribers on high-end plans. Data usage per LTE subscriber increased 15 per cent from the previous quarter.
Responding to pressure from the government, all mobile operators had to reduce their activation fees, which need to be eliminated by next August. SKT reduced the fee in August to KRW11,880 ($11) from KRW23,760 and estimates dropping the fee will save customers KRW92 billion.
Its EBITDA was the same as a year ago — KRW1.26 trillion.