Olivier Le Moal - stock.adobe.co

SK continues transition away from mobile dominance

SK Telecom has shown an annual increase in its mobile communications business revenues for the first time in eight quarters, as it carries on with its plan to transform into a global “new” ICT company

At it embarks on a mission to position itself as a global “new” ICT company through partnerships and cooperation, SK Telecom has shown annual increases in its mobile communications business revenues for the first time in eight quarters.

For its third quarter of the year, Korea’s largest mobile operator, which boasts nearly half of the market share, posted an operating income of $258.3m and net income of $234.69m.

Cash generation, and indeed general growth and transformation, were driven by the company’s media, security and commerce businesses. On a consolidated basis, SK Telecom’s revenue increased by 9.0% and operating income decreased by 0.7% compared with the same period in 2018.

The company declared an operating income of $258.39m, and net income of $234.69m. Net income increased 5.9% compared with the second quarter of 2019 and rose marginally (0.1%) year-on-year.

Backed by an expanding 5G subscriber base, the company’s mobile communications business revenue grew by 0.1% year-on-year and 2.1% quarter-on-quarter to stand at $2.13bn. 5G subscribers exceeded 1.54 million as of the end of September 2019.

On a non-consolidated basis, operating income decreased by 18.6% year-on-year and 8.2% quarter-on-quarter to $216.22m, due to expanded costs for 5G marketing and network investment.

Yet the results also revealed that for the third quarter, 45% of SK Telecom’s consolidated revenue came from businesses other than the mobile communication business.

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The company does however show that the media, security and commerce businesses have become solid drivers of its growth, and that SK Telecom is “rapidly” shifting itself from a mobile operator to a new ICT company.

As part of this transition, SK Telecom recently signed a strategic partnership and agreed to a $256.59m stock swap transaction with Kakao, the operator of Korea’s leading mobile messaging app. The two companies plan to cooperate in four areas; mobile communications, commerce, digital content and future ICT.

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