LTE growth helps SK Telecom revenue

Alan Burkitt-Gray
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LTE customers grow fast and mobile revenue is back up, but overall SK Telecom revenue falls

LTE customers account for more than 70% of SK Telecom’s total mobile subscriber base, the South Korean company announced as part of its annual results.

But it’s been a tough year for SK Telecom, even though mobile phone revenue grew just 0.4% in the fourth quarter over the third quarter, breaking a four consecutive quarter streak of declining revenues.

Overall revenue declined 0.3% year on year and operating income dropped 10.1%, reflecting a rise in depreciation expenses caused by its purchase of new spectrum blocks.

“The year 2016 was a year when we continued to make progress in the mobile telecommunications business, while thoroughly preparing ourselves for the future,” said Ryu Young-sang, head of strategy and planning division and CFO of SK Telecom.

“In 2017, we will not only strengthen our competitiveness in the area of mobile telecommunications, but will also generate tangible results in the field of new ICT.”

As of the end of 2016, the number of SK Telecom’s LTE subscribers was 21.08 million, representing an 11.1% annual growth and taking up over 70% of the company’s total mobile subscriber base.

SK Telecom’s total number of mobile subscribers also grew 3.4% in the year to 29.6 million.

In addition to the increased number of subscribers, mobile data usage per user also continued to rise, resulting in the growth of mobile telephony revenue.