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Asia

SKT operating profit up 16%, eyes growth from new bank partner

SK Telecom boosted Q2 operating income by 16% as it made gains across its business groups, the company announced Tuesday.

South Korea's largest mobile operator improved revenue by 4% to 4.29 trillion won (US$3.29 billion) over last year, but the net profit of 258.1 billion won ($197.6 million) fell short of analysts' estimates of 317.9 billion won ($243 million), Yonhap News reported.

Net earnings were down 68% as a result of the spin-off of memory chip-maker SK Hynix last year.

SKT boosted the number of 5G subscribers to 11.7 million, accounting for more than half its customer base.
 (Source: Ryan Pikkel on Flickr CC2.0)
SKT boosted the number of 5G subscribers to 11.7 million, accounting for more than half its customer base.
(Source: Ryan Pikkel on Flickr CC2.0)

In its core mobile business, SKT boosted the number of 5G subscribers to 11.7 million, accounting for more than half its customer base.

CFO Kim Jin-won said that following the launch of several new price plans aimed at low- and mid-range customers, SKT was confident of reaching its year-end target of 13 million.

Topline revenue for the MNO business rose just 2.2%, but with growth from new businesses and a 6% drop in marketing cost, the unit lifted income by 22% to 224 billion won ($171 million).

Fixed-line business and enterprise unit SK Broadband increased revenue by 3.6% and income by 21.8%.

'Even growth'

Kim said the company had achieved "even growth" across its five business groups.

He highlighted SKT's new strategic relationship with Hana Financial Group, based on a cross-investment deal in July in which each company invested 400 billion won ($306 million) in the other.

Kim said that while the two had been collaborating in the card business since 2010, the enlarged partnership had been driven by disruptions that both the telecom and finance industries are undergoing.

They are planning new offerings such as AI-based customer service solutions, data-driven services that leverage their combined data resources and joint metaverse services.

SKT's metaverse platform Ifland, launched a year ago and downloaded 8.7 million times, is another growth prospect.


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The company aims to take it global with other operator partners but so far has not confirmed any new markets (see SKT taking its metaverse platform to the world).

SKT said it plans to launch a "crypto economic system" within Ifland with SK Coin to integrate the virtual and the real worlds. It describes the cryptocurrency as "just one element of the Ifland economic system."

Kim said that after three years of 5G competition, the Korean mobile market has become quite stable, with a total of 24 million 5G subs.

"We see there is low likelihood of competition heating up again to attract 5G subscribers," he said.

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— Robert Clark, contributing editor, special to Light Reading

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