KT Corp

Korea’s 5G growth pays off for KT Corp in Q3

09 November 2020 | Melanie Mingas

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South Korea’s KT Corp has recorded a 3.7% rise in year on year revenues with operating income up 19.7%, led by mobile performance.

KT Corp noted double-digit growth across its three other business units – media, security and commerce – with their total quarterly operating income reaching KRW100 billion for the first time.

Specifically, Media recorded 20% growth, due to strong pay-tv service including IPTV and CATV; Security returned to double-digit growth due to growing demand and new services; and Commerce achieved both growth and profitability.

Meanwhile the MNO unit saw continued growth led by 5G expansions, despite the revenue decline associated with 2G shutdowns. MNO’s operating income grew year and year and quarter on quarter, due to higher profits contributed by new ICT businesses.

KT reported that its 5G subscriber base had grown at an “accelerated rate each quarter”, reaching 4.26 million as of the end of Q3. Subscription increases were attributed to the roll out of new consumer capabilities, including stronger coverage and contactless channels, 5G services such as Jump AR/VR, and 5GX cloud games. KT said it ranked number one for 5G service quality in the first half of the year.

South Korea was named as a global leader in 5G back in February. According to figures published by VIAVI, 85 of more than 100 cities in the country were connected at the start of 2020, putting it ahead of China, the US and UK at the time. In July, Korean operators announced a US$22 billion investment strategy for the country’s 5G infrastructure and now the country is preparing to begin 6G trials as soon as 2026.

The latest financial results also provided an update on KT Corp’s new business divisions. Last month the firm unveiled its plans for T Map Mobility, its newly independent mobility business, to partner with Uber for a ride-hailing JV. The financial statement read: “With T Map, the nation’s number one mobility platform, combined with Uber’s e-hailing know-hows, the business will grow into SKT’s fifth major business area valued at over KRW 1 trillion”.

Further, One Store recorded its highest-ever quarterly revenue, posting its ninth consecutive quarter of growth. Its revenues increased 9% QoQ and 26% YoY, and its IPO is now confirmed for the second half of 2021.

Lastly, receiving a boost from Covid-19 lockdowns, the Security unit recorded its highest ever quarterly revenue at KRW 350 billion, thanks to the expansion of new non-face-to-face service. KT said it “actively explored new business areas by responding to demand for non-face-to-face services, including Caps Smart Check(facial recognition temperature scanning solution), Caps Clean Care (sterilisation/disinfection service), Caps Smart Walk-in(walk-through access security solutions)”.