SEOUL, Nov. 5 (Korea Bizwire) — SK Telecom Co., South Korea’s largest mobile carrier, said Thursday its net income rose more than 40 percent in the third quarter from a year earlier on the back of robust growth in its media business.
The telecom operator’s net income stood at 395.7 billion won (US$350.5 million) in the July-September period, up 44.2 percent from 274.4 billion won the previous year, according to a regulatory filing.
Operating income reached 361.5 billion won, up 19.7 percent over the cited period, while sales rose 3.7 percent to 4.7 trillion won.
SK Telecom said its media business through its internet protocol TV subsidiary SK Broadband Co. saw robust growth in the third quarter as sales stood at 966.8 billion won, up 20.3 percent from the previous year.
The mobile carrier said its mobile network business also continued to grow, with sales reaching 2.94 trillion won, up 1 percent from a year earlier, thanks to a pickup in 5G subscribers despite its move to end 2G services.
The carrier said it had 4.26 million 5G subscriptions as of end of the third quarter, up 27.3 percent from the previous quarter.
In a conference call, SK Telecom said it expects its 5G subscribers to reach 5 to 6 million by the end of this year.
The company added that it is reorganizing its 5G phone pay plans to be more competitive as early as the end of this year, which will likely lead to faster user growth and reach 9 million 5G subscribers in end-2021.
SK Telecom said a strong performance from its chipmaking affiliate SK hynix Inc. also boosted its bottom line.
Equity gains totaled 265.9 billion won in the third quarter, compared with 121.3 billion won a year earlier, according to the company.
SK Telecom holds a 20 percent stake in the memory chipmaker, which reported Wednesday that net income more than doubled in the third quarter on-year.
The carrier said its non-telecom businesses saw strong growth in the third quarter as the company seeks to move beyond its traditional focus in network-related businesses.
SK Telecom’s security units ADT Caps and SK infosec reported combined sales of 353.3 billion won in the July-September period, up 15.5 percent from the previous year.
Its commerce business, which include home shopping firm SK stoa Co. and e-commerce company 11Street Co., saw total sales reach 206.6 billion won, rising 18.7 percent over the same period.
The carrier also drummed up expectations for its new technology businesses, such as its mobility spinoff in partnership with Uber Technologies Inc. and app market subsidiary ONE Store.
Last month, SK Telecom said it decided to spin off its mobility business, which will set up a joint venture with the U.S. ride-hailing company by the first half of next year.
The carrier said it will pursue an initial public offering for its new spinoff, tentatively named T map Mobility Co.
The company said its app market subsidiary ONE Store recorded nine consecutive quarters of growth and that it aims to publicly list the firm next year.
SK Telecom’s shares closed 2.06 percent higher to 223,000 won, roughly in line with the broader KOSPI’s rise of 2.4 percent.