Mobile carriers in S. Korea tipped for robust Q1 earnings

Seoul, April 11 (IANS) South Korean wireless carriers are estimated to have logged robust earnings in the first quarter on the back of sharp growth in 5G users and their non-telecom businesses, a poll showed on Sunday.

The combined operating profits of the country’s three major mobile carriers — SK Telecom Co., KT Corp. and LG Uplus Corp. — are expected to have reached $863.3 million in the January-March period, up 6.8 per cent from the previous year, according to the poll on six local brokerage houses by Yonhap Infomax, the financial arm of Yonhap News Agency.

SK Telecom, the biggest of the three in terms of mobile users, is estimated to have posted an operating profit of 339.5 billion won for the first quarter, up 12.42 per cent on-year, while its revenue probably rose 6.57 per cent on-year to 4.74 trillion won, said the Yonhap report.

Telecom giant KT is expected to have logged 386.3 billion won in operating profit, up 0.84 per cent on-year, while the operating profit of LG Uplus is estimated to have risen 9.51 per cent to 240.7 billion won.

Analysts said their strong bottom lines come as mobile subscribers to 5G networks sharply rose this year.

“As 5G penetration increases, service sales growth is in full swing, while marketing costs are expected to decline,” Hana Financial Investment analyst Kim Hong-sik said.

South Korea added around 1.8 million 5G users in the first two months of this year, reaching a total of 13.66 million, which accounts for 19 per cent of all mobile service subscriptions, according to data from the Ministry of Science and ICT.