South Korea-based KT recorded positive results for Q1, with profit surging on gains from investments and its mobile business benefiting from higher roaming and MVNO revenue.

On an earnings call, CFO Min Jang highlighted new rate plans introduced in January aided customer adoption, with profitability improving despite rising business expenses. 

Mobile revenue in the opening quarter inched up 1.7 per cent from a year earlier to KRW1.74 trillion ($1.27 billion). ARPU rose 2 per cent to KRW34,461, marking a second consecutive quarterly gain.

Handset sales fell 1.8 per cent to KRW654.2 billion.

The operator’s 5G user base grew by nearly 1.2 million to end March with 9.9 million, accounting for 56 per cent of its 17.7 million mobile subs. MVNO customers increased 3.9 per cent to 7.1 million.

Net profit improved 26.9 per cent to KRW393 billion, due in large part to gains in non-operating income, with operating revenue up 3.3 per cent to KRW6.65 trillion.

Jang reiterated KT’s plan to drive growth by combining new AI capabilities with its IT and connectivity offerings to support clients’ digital transformation.

B2B revenue rose 5 per cent to KRW895 billion, while its fixed-line business was broadly flat at KRW1.32 trillion.

Q1 capex, which includes major subsidiaries, totalled KRW507 billion. The full-year outlay in 2023 was KRW3.32 trillion.