SK Telecom has cruised to a 400 billion won (US$340 million) 3Q operating profit thanks to strong performances in its mobile and media businesses.
Operating profit was up 11.7% over last year while revenue increased 5.0% to 4.97 trillion won ($4.2 billion).
Net profit was 88% higher at 736.5 billion won ($624 million), mostly on gains from its stake in memory chip-maker SK Hynix, the company said in a statement Wednesday.
SKT's flagship mobile business added 950,000 5G subs for the quarter, helping the unit grow 2.9% to 3 trillion won ($2.5 billion). Mobile service revenue rose 3.1% while operating income increased 21.9% to 320 billion won ($271 million).
SKT now has 8.65 million 5G subs, well ahead of its nearest competitor, and representing 27% of its total wireless customer base.
In the media segment, operating income was up 21.3% after its best-ever IPTV revenue and subs growth performance, while streaming service Wavve reached 4.4 million MAU.
The company has revamped its old security business into a new unit called Shieldus, a "life care business" that provides security solutions of all kinds for individuals and businesses.
It achieved an 11.8% increase in operating income on stronger demand for cybersecurity, converged security and unmanned solutions, SKT said.
This was the first result since the company formally split into two on November 1. SK Telecom now positions itself as an "AI and digital infrastructure company."
The company says it is aiming for sales of 22 trillion won ($18.6 billion) by 2025 by building out its business in telecoms, AI and digital infrastructure. Last year, full-year revenue totaled 18.6 trillion won ($15.7 billion).
The spin-off company, SK Square, will invest in chip, media, security and commerce businesses, with a target of increasing asset value from 26 trillion won ($22 billion) to 75 trillion won ($63.5 billion) by 2025.
Looking ahead, SKT says the cloud business is a priority because of its strengths in AI, digital transformation and 5G MEC. It also hopes to expand its industrial IoT business in the manufacturing, security and financial segments.
Additionally, the telco is eyeing the metaverse. It is planning an AI-based metaverse called Ifland intended to be an open platform where "users can take part in creating a new world" in collaboration with game and entertainment companies.
It recently launched T Universe, a membership platform with special deals from Amazon, SKT's own online store 11st and other brands.
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— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading